Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Improg word: Orange

I don’t have a lot of time for an improg entry this week. I’ve got four big work projects on the go, plus my regular chauffeur duties; two track meets; a year-end planning meeting; dance, music, and art classes; a shift in the school library; and a “quick” visit for tea with my mom and a friend of hers tomorrow that I know will turn into an all-day thing. And some of these take place at the same time, which means I also have to get my time machine working so I can be in three places at once.

The upshot of all this is that I have about 100 hours’ worth of work sitting on my desk and only about 20 hours this week to make some headway into it. I just can’t spend an hour pondering over a word, even if it is something fun like yodel or stapler.

Fortunately, I picked a fairly visual word today: orange. I was never too fond of orange until recently. Because I grew up in the 70s, orange was inextricably linked in my mind with brown and green, together forming ghastly upholstery patterns. And it reminded me of fall, when the leaves turn color and the dreaded winter looms.

I don’t have a favorite color—being fickle like I am, with a short attention span, I have a different “favorite” every day, depending on my mood and the weather. On any given day, it might be yellow or blue or red or purple or even green. But orange never even made it into the cycle

Then I accidentally painted my office orange. I know what you're thinking ("What a twit!"), but it was easier than you might think to do something like that. The paint chip clearly showed a Tuscan gold—classy and calm. I pictured myself working in an environment that would make Martha Stewart proud—ordered, coordinated, just the kind of place to write and edit works of great wisdom. Once on the walls, though, the paint revealed its true nature—not classy or calm at all, but a riotous California-poppy orange.

Once I got over the initial shock, I realized that it was perfect for me. I am not classy or particularly calm. I come from the wrong side of the freeway in a California town and I’ve always loved California poppies and how they can grow in the most unlikely and seemingly inhospitable places. My office, which is the coldest room in our house and looks out onto the forest in our backyard (a gloomy place on a gray day), had been painted an oppressive, depressive mushroom-soup color. My new orange walls brought a shot of sunshine into the place where I spend most of my day.

Now orange is linked in my mind not with overstuffed couches or shag carpet or fall, but with spring and summer, sunshine and flowers and—very important to me—warmth. I don’t see California poppies all that much here, but now that orange has shown up on my favorite-color radar, I notice all sorts of orangeness brightening up my day.

Speaking of orange, Margerie was wondering what this was going to look like when it opened. Yesterday I was near the park where I took that picture, so I stopped by to get an update. Here it is in all its orange glory.


Hayley Townley, Breast Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire! said...

As I tell Shirley, you have always like orange, you just didn't know it until recently. Although, at least you can admit it. Your sister-in-law is still screaming and kicking at the thought of actually liking orange. It must be the 70's that is skewing her as well.

I am glad you like orange. Have I ever told you that I love orange?

Margerie said...

You haven't lived until you have seen Hayley with her blue and orange sweater on and fabulous orange knitted scarf. It is better than it souds.

Love the flower and I love thinking of you working in your orange office!

I love orange too- especially that flower color orange.