Column: The Case of Color Blindness at Our House by Susan Parker

Tuesday December 06, 2005

“Brown?” asked our friend Darren. “Why brown?” 

“It’s not brown,” I answered. “It’s green.” 

He was silent for a moment, but I could tell he didn’t believe me. 

“Green,” he said. “Mmmmmmmm.” 

I looked at the wall in my dining room that I had just painted Behr 350F-7 Wild Mushroom Green. I squinted my eyes. Unfortunately, it did look a little brown. Actually, it looked very brown. Mud brown. 

“Wait until it dries,” I said with as much optimism as I could muster. “I’m sure it will look green tomorrow in the morning light.” 

“Early morning light,” said Darren. “You better get up really, really early.” 

We stood together and stared at the wall. 

“What about the ceiling?” he asked, tilting his head and nodding upward. 

“I’m going to paint it a creamy white,” I said. 

“But you should have done it first and painted your way down. It’s the golden rule of painting. Always start from the top and work toward the floor.” 

“Too late now.” 

“Yes,” he agreed. “I believe you’re correct on that particular point.” 

Our former roommate Hans came in the back door. 

“Uh oh,” he said as soon as he stepped into the dining room and saw the wall. He shook his head. “Way too dark. Why’d you do that?” 

“It will lighten up,” I said. “I’m sure of it.” 

He let out a low whistle and exchanged glances with Darren. 

“What color do you think it is?” I asked. 

“Brown,” he said. “Dark brown.” Then he looked up at the ceiling. “What?” he shouted. “You didn’t paint the ceiling first? Oh boy.” 

The three of us were peering skyward when our housemate Andrea stomped downstairs. 

“What’s going on?” she asked. 

“We’re discussing the new paint.” I pointed at the wall. “What color do you think it is?” 

“You know I can’t see nothin’ without my glasses,” she answered. 

“Take a guess,” I said. 

She stepped forward until her nose almost touched the wet paint, then walked backward until she was inside the kitchen doorway. 

“Green,” she said. “It’s dark green.” 

“Do you think it’s too dark?” I asked. 

She was silent for a moment. We looked at her, anticipating a response. “I’m thinkin’,” she said. 

We waited while she thought. 

“It’s gonna be all right,” was her final answer. “You just gotta let it dry and then give it another coat or two. And when you hang all the pictures back up you’ll cover most of it, so yeah, it’ll be just fine.” She paused. 


“But what?” I asked 

She pointed at the ceiling. 

“Don’t tell me,” I said. 

“You shoulda painted that first,” she advised, ignoring me. 

“Let’s not change the subject,” I said. “We were discussing the color. I’m glad you can see it’s green. Darren and Hans thought it was brown.” 

“You know all men are color-blind. Don’t pay attention to anything any man says.” 

I stepped away from Hans and Darren and moved closer to Andrea, my ally. 

Willie came in the front door. “What’s happening?” he asked. But before we could answer him he got a view of the newly painted wall. “Oh lord,” he said through his teeth. 

“Do you like it?” I asked. 

We waited as he scrutinized my handiwork. “We’ll get used to it,” he said. 

Then he looked at me. He could see the concern on my face. “Don’t worry, Suzy,” he said. “It’ll be OK.” He glanced up at the ceiling but was smart enough not to mention the obvious. I stepped away from Andrea and moved closer to Willie. 

“He’s color-blind,” hissed Andrea. 

I ignored her.?