I have a policy not to talk about work on here, which is a shame because really, work is the most interesting thing about my life right now. I’m bending the rules today because I think this is equally interesting and uncompromising.
Some colors so straddle a line it’s difficult to say exactly what they are; for an entire semester of my junior year of high school I had an ongoing argument with my then-boyfriend about whether a particular mouse-pad was purple or blue; my eyes could be green or blue depending on what you were predisposed to see. I know that sometimes cultures see colors differently- that languages in Northern climes have more words for “white,” that the Romans didn;t have a concept of “gray”: things we consider to be gray they thought of as dark blue or dark green. I’ve never come across serious disagreements before though, on the basics: that trees are green, the sky is blue, the moon is white.
My co-worker K. teaches a beginner’s Turkish class to a group of Nigerian immigrants. The lesson the other day was on colors, which is usually pretty straightforward: point at something green and say, “yeşil.” Draw water and say, “mavi.” But when he drew water and said, “mavi,” he ran into difficulties, because the students refused to recognize water as being blue. Which, okay, isn’t really when you think about it. So K. indicated his satchel, which was a dark gray-ish blue, and got into another argument about how that wasn’t blue either. “Blue is general,” he tried to explain. “It encompasses many shades.” They were unconvinced, but the lesson moved on. Next K drew a big sun on the board to demonstrate “yellow,” and the Nigerians didn’t understand at all.
“The sun isn’t yellow,” they protested. “It’s bright.”
So it is, so it is.