Remembering shades of blue is learning to speak the truth and writing in a universal language. As I often felt my singular biggest problem has been – being misunderstood. I get furious because I assume that other people know what I mean when I say something and they don’t. Then I conjure up they are intentionally giving me a hard time because it’s much more enjoyable to be difficult than to attempt to understand what I’m saying. In other words, they’re giving me a hard time on purpose.
Heaven forbid that I might be communicating in a manner that is frustrating to them or they really do not know what I mean. Or that I’m doing my usual going in eighteen verbal directions at once, always knowing where I am, but seeing in their eyes that they are lost. How can my family members not know, when I’m perfectly clear and intelligent? Huh? After all they’ve know me forever, right?
It’s Saturday morning in Long Beach where you can find me painting yet another wall in my dinning room of the 1932 California bungalow house I love with the red oak floors and fifty year old rose bushes. I’m a nester and have been since I became an adult. All those early childhood years in a refugee camp took there toll on me. Having a special home to live in is about the most important thing on this earth to me.
I love painting, arranging, decorating, and have only recently given up hanging wallpaper. Mostly because I could have taken an African Safari or a trip to Paris for what I spent in the Laura Ashley store at South Coast Plaza for twelve years.
It’s the mid-eighties and once again I am revising the color of the dining room. What with Josh’s Bar Mitzvah taking place at the end of summer, the dining room with wanes coating dividing every wall that used to be duck egg blue with two tone striped wallpaper, will become the hot new style Country French in Wedgwood blue. Everybody is coming to the Bar Mitzvah and I want to show off my beautiful house, changing my mind yet again from two tone stripes to two toned flowers.
Personally, I was the profit margin for Laura Ashley, Ralph Lauren, and Home Depot. Their stock dropped considerably when I left Los Angeles in 1992. Saturdays were spent painting and Sunday mornings were spent at Home Depot finding a new project for the following week. If not for me these stores would go bankrupt for sure. Look at that, I’m helping the American economy all by myself. I am a heroine. An exhausted one as I work full time driving an hour each way to and from work on the LA freeways, but a heroine nevertheless.
“What are you doing,” the voice asks as I pick up the receiver Saturday morning?
“Hi Moishe, I’m painting the dining room.”
“Again,” my brother says incredulous. “What color are you painting it this time?”
“Wedgwood,” I respond.
“What, what the hell color is that,” questions Moishe getting ready to be miffed?
“You know, Wedgwood, the color of the plates.”
“Wedgwood plates, the ones made in England.”
“Well what color is that,” says Moishe, seriously beginning to lose his patience with my obviously moronic behavior. Obvious to everyone but me.
“Well, it’s a kind of blue-ish gray. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, you know Wedgwood,” shocked that he does not fathom what I mean.
By this point the brother who called to ask me to breakfast would like to put his hands around my throat and squeeze. We do a little more “who’s on first” and I finally say, “It’s a shade of blue!”
“Why didn’t you say so in the beginning,” says Moishe shouting ?
“Because there are 5000 shades of blue,” say I even louder.
“You’re breaking my ear drum, why are you always screaming at me?” says Moishe.
And there is the rub, the dichotomy, the yo-yo. We’re smart, we’re clear. We understand how these 26 letters combine and twist and turn and what they mean. Why we’ve been using them our entire lives. We certainly know what we mean! Don’t we? How can the person standing next to or in front of or on the phone not get it? We even spend thousands of dollars, time and effort going to therapists whining about how we’ve been wronged using even more words, with more meanings.
So the conversation continues for at least thirty minutes with each of us batting the badminton back and forth across the airwaves for one to whack back to the other with each return louder than the other. All that lost energy and time discussing shades of blue when we could have been eating eggs benedict.
All rights reserved. ©2009 by Sara Fryd
The Little Prince teaches “words are the source of all misunderstandings.”