Hippopotamus pencil pouches and two packages of disappearing purple glue for a dollar. That’s how we roll.*

When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time wondering if everyone saw orange the way *I* see orange. I can look at orange and call it orange, but is my orange your orange? (You call it orange, also, because that’s all you’ve ever known as orange, but what if your brain processes it differently than mine?) ((I promise I’m not high right now.)) Similarly, I associate green and red with Christmas. You might, too. BUT, you might see green and red the way *I* see blue and yellow.

I have spent many hours thinking about the moment when the discovery is made that everyone’s orange is not the same. “What?! Your orange is my BLUE, and your blue is my RED?! We can’t unsee it that way, so we just have to keep on trucking knowing that we’re seeing things completely differently!”

(I married a man who is color blind. His green is my red. He makes all of the time spent thinking about colors 100% worthwhile. “You honestly see those Christmas lights as green?! Oh my God, I feel like we’re in on the secret! Babies! Let’s have them!”)

I probably spend a little too much time on Facebook, and I handle my “wall” the same way I would handle a wall in my house. If you hang a Soundgarden poster in my family room, I’m probably going to take it down. I won’t think less of you for liking Soundgarden, but I don’t necessarily want Soundgarden to take up space on my wall. Similarly, if you hang up a poster that says something to the effect of “I don’t think your gay friends should be able to get married!”, I will quickly remove that poster for two reasons. 1. I disagree with you 100%. 2. My kids like you, but they’re still too young to figure out that you can love a person yet despise their notions. I don’t want them to 1. Not like you because they disagree with you, or worse, 2. Decide to blindly agree with you without thinking it through just because they DO like you.

Oh. You’re using the Bible to back up your claim that it’s NOT okay to help those in need? And YOU get to decide who is worthy of charity and who is not?

I love you like crazy, but your green is not my green.

Wait. You HATE President Obama and you say he HATES America (fists banging on the table!) and you’re really PISSED about this whole healthcare thing and you’re going to put up silly little posters about how you DID build your company and RAWR!!! CHIK-FIL-A APPRECIATION DAY!!!

You look really pretty today, but your orange is not my orange.

With this being an election year, my friends and family are being very vocal about what they believe. Some are vocal by using their actual voices. Some are more passively vocal and choose to hang posters on my wall. (Figuratively! No one has actually shown up at my door with thumbtacks. (I have a No Solicitors sign on my door. With that said, this woman once came to my door and told me that she’s NOT a solicitor. She’s a CANDIDATE! I still laugh and laugh about that. I WILL say that I’ll probably vote for her because I tend to agree with most of her ideas, but I ALSO like the fact that her opponent walked up to my front door and then walked away after reading the sign.))

I’m not saying that my orange is Orange or that my green is Green. I look silly when I fold my arms across my chest and get all scowly. (Most people do, don’t you think?)

This is what I know: If I see you standing out in the rain, I will offer you an umbrella. I don’t care if you’re rich or poor or black or white or straight or gay or old or young. I used to have three umbrellas in my car. I’m now down to one. (I have several public bus stops near my house. Sometimes it rains.)

This is what I know: If, during a friendly conversation, you tell me that you will disown your child if she “says she’s gay”, I will offer you an umbrella if you’re caught out in the rain, but I will definitely not nod my head and agree with you. AND, I will actually choose your child OVER you if she needs a friend someday.

This is what I know: I attend church regularly. It’s a church that builds homes for the homeless and makes sandwiches for the hungry and sends mosquito nets to areas where people are suffering from malaria. It’s a church that welcomes everyone. Everyone. EVERYONE. It’s a church that doesn’t suggest you vote a certain way. It’s a church that encourages you to think and engage in dialogue and love your neighbor. (This is sometimes hard for me, being that I live next door to one of the top ten crabbiest women in America. (I am not making this up.)) It might not be like your church, but its Orange walls are my Orange walls. (It doesn’t have orange walls. I think you know what I’m saying over here.)

I’m 880 words in, and I just want you to know that I think you’re the tops regardless of who you vote for or who you love. With that said, I’ll be trucking along over here in the corner supporting my gay friends and my president and eating eggplant fries and drinking sweet tea and trying like hell to love my crabby neighbor.

*Meredith just came up and asked what I’m writing about. I answered with, “I’m not really sure. I just feel like I need to get some stuff off of my chest, so I’m giving myself 30 minutes to puke words.” Her answer? “Well, then you should probably name it Hippopotamus pencil pouches and two packages of disappearing purple glue for a dollar. That’s how we roll.” I probably should, and I probably did. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

64 thoughts on “Hippopotamus pencil pouches and two packages of disappearing purple glue for a dollar. That’s how we roll.*”

  1. Looking for the “Like” button…….couldn’t agree with you more!!! BTW – love the title!!

  2. We are transferring brain waves. I’ve been thinking about a similar entry and how I’d like to distance myself from fb. I see more hate and ugliness in my news feed these days than I see good things. The things some people repost makes me question why I even know them, let alone count them as “friends”. I don’t expect us all to agree, but I do expect us to converse with intelligence and civility.

  3. This, I LOVE. Even though when you said you weren’t high it made me choke on the water I was drinking. (I’m okay now.)

  4. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Been reading your posts for years. This one is tops! Thank you.

  5. First, that color thing–me too! I used to obsess about it when I was a kid, and that it was impossible to ever really see a true color because lightwaves and whatnot.

    Second, all the rest. Wow. If that’s how you roll, you roll great.

  6. THANK YOU for posting this. I wish I were half as eloquent as you are when you’re puking words.

  7. Angie, I STILL have occasional internal debates with myself about that whole color thing. I mean, what if something awful happened to my eyes, and I had to get an eye transplant, but the person whose eyes (bless their recently-deceased no-longer-beating heart) I was given happened to be someone whose blue all along had been my red. OMG, the sky is RED all of a sudden??? Steep learning curve on that one!

    Ocular Physics aside, the fact that you managed to parlay that pondering into one of the most thoughtful posts I’ve read in many a long time has me wondering if I should actually re-consider my heretofore steadfast “mostly no posting” policy on Facebook in order to provide my friends a link to your blog for this.

    No promises, mind you, but I’m giving it some serious consideration.

    Most of my friends are like-minded, mind you, but those who are not and who tend to blather on about it — blocked!

    Soon I will be giving my FB friend list a good thorough going-over with the maintenance criteria being “would I actually even want to take time to sit down and have lunch with this person?” If not, they will soon be doing their ranting on someone else’s page, not mine.

    You, my friend, even though you actually, you know, go to church, and wear cute dresses, and stick to a (mostly) really healthy diet that still includes blizzards and cake pops, and probably own and know how to use a smart phone? You’re firmly in the “yes indeed I *would* like to have lunch with her again and gosh darn I wish we lived close enough to actually do that from time to time” category!

  8. Great post FP. I’m not in the US as you know but I still see FB posts on occasion from people I love about how Obama is evil. And by that I mean they are not saying “he is not my politician/party of choice” but instead some weird spiritualised thing about him being deadset evil. And as Australians they are actually concerned about this. So if you get a minute one day and the inclination perhaps you could give me the dot point version of why a segment of US (and Oz) Christians characterise your president like this. Because from my vantage point it kinda just reads like racism. And I like the sound of your church. Way to go Christians loving other people and everything.

  9. I struggle with disagreeing with my loved ones. Here’s the deal. I come from a strongly Conservative family that pretty much votes a straight Republican ticket and my Grandfather was the only male member of his large family that didn’t become a Minister. I’m a conservative Liberal Atheist. So all my life I have held different views from my family. In High School I used to tell people that I was Agnostic but that wasn’t the truth. I was a full fledged Atheist for as long as I can remember but I just didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Later I evolved to just not talking about Religion all the way through to my current status of telling people that I do not believe in ANY Gods. Being more vocal as I got older led me to very active debates in chatrooms on the internet. The sad part is that no matter how logical I was or how funny you really don’t change someone’s mind. Most of the folks I chatted with didn’t understand my arguements or thought they had won the debate. So for a while I quit challenging people when they posted something hateful or ignorant. I didn’t want to waste my time. Lately with the election of our first black President I could no longer let the lies go unanswered. There is an active campaign of misinformation playing to the worse parts of the Conservative mythos. I reacted quite harshly and found myself posting things just as ugly as the average Tea Party Republican. I like people to read what I write. I’m pretty sure that there were people automatically not reading my stuff just because of the tone of my postings. I know members of my family certainly were, they told me. I went thru my blog and erased all of the harsh posts. I do not want to add to the ugliness. Now I just try and cut right to the chase. Not debate people on the flavor of their writings, just talk about the core issues. EXAMPLE: It’s OK for the CEO of Chick-fil-A to hold religious beliefs against a certain part of our society. That is his right as an American. It’s NOT OK for the CEO of Chick-fil-A to funnel his company profits into organizations that activily attempt to discriminate against a certain part of our society. It doesn’t matter if the CEO hates black people, wants to take away women’s rights to vote, or keep gay people from marrying the person they love. If he spends his company profits to further private discriminitory beliefs I’m going to call them out on it. I will NOT be spending money at Chick-fil-A on August 1st, or the 2nd, or any other day for that matter. It sucks, I really liked their chicken. There are other chicken restaurants and I will be spending my money there as long as their CEO funds discrimination. McNuggets it is…

  10. I also struggle with explaining to my son about liking people but disagreeing with what they say.

    Thanks for posting!!

  11. Both of my brothers are colorblind so I’ve been dealing with that color issue my whole life.

    I’ve been having a really difficult time lately not commenting on those kinds of FB posts. I just remind myself every time that it’s just not worth it. I can’t change their mind.

  12. I couldn’t agree with you more. In some ways, I wish my church was just like yours. It’s not, and I don’t agree with some of the things that my church believes in. I certainly don’t let those issues keep me from believing in what I believe in and who I pray to. I’m hoping that others in my faith see my faith as I see it.

    Same goes for my political views.

  13. All I have to say is that I thought this post was going to be about some great bargain school supply you found.
    Ok that and Amen sister.

  14. You had me at the first paragraph. (Oh, how I wish we’d been childhood friends.) And then you had me with every paragraph after that. I am unabashedly in love with you (and it’s not just because you gave me cookies for my birthday). Your orange and my orange? Same thing!

  15. *applause*

    and that thing about orange? I’ve wondered that too.

    <–also hands out umbrellas (literally). I support the theory that there really are only 10-15 umbrellas in the world & that they all just get passed around or left in restaurants for others to use.

  16. I have nothing special to add except that I love reading blogs that I could have written myself…they make me feel so meta. :)

  17. Why can’t you be my neighbor? Seriously. I’d even come to you if you. Then your crabby neighbor could retire to Florida to live happily-ever-after next door to my crabby neighbor and I could promise to never, ever tack a Soundgarden poster on your living room wall. (All bets are off with Oasis, though, everyone needs a Wonderwall. *ugh* bad pun at 6 in the morning. This is why I am not a morning person. Good morning!)

    Anyway. As usual, 100%. With you, dig you, think your kid is awesome. Me? I’m down to headed back to the dollar spot for some more umbrellas because the three drops of rain the other day sent my last one out the window of my car because I wasn’t going to explain to my middlest that we only offer help if we have to use the windshield wipers…

  18. I’ve been reading blogs for a la-onggggg time now, and this is easily one of my top five (top three?) favorite posts. I couldn’t agree more if I tried. (ps, I’ve been looking for a new church. can you please inbox me some — generic, if you’d prefer — details so I can find a similar one down here? one just like yours, preferably.)

  19. I am not exaggerating or fluffing your ego when I tell you that this entry brought tears to my eyes because…YES…EXACTLY. It is so spot on about the debate in my heart with my own very vocal and very conservative and VERY ANGRY friends/family. Their orange is not my orange, but I will still offer them an umbrella in the rain.

    Except I never have an umbrella. I’m not sure where that puts me in the metaphor. Hopefully not with the crabby neighbor.

  20. I have had a super hard time putting into words how I feel about all these debates going on regarding politics and chick-fil-a, but I think you just hit the nail squarely on the head. Orange and Green, Indeed.

  21. My husband and I see color very differently, he is apparently the accurate one as he is perfect on those color charts. Like visual perfect pitch. I, on the other hand, like to get a second opinion when I am wearing colors (I very often just wear white or black and a neutral for this reason) because combinations that look good to me, look like I am completely colorblind (or crazy) to others. Dressing is an adventure. Painting walls even more so.

    Even so, I think your orange is my orange here. Civility doesn’t sound like such a lofty goal (I mean loving that crabby neighbor sounds harder, or world peace etc.) but it seems like there is almost none in the political sphere. Forget about respecting each other, we can’t even tolerate each other in this country. Have you read “The Big Sort”? I am not sure I agree with all he (Bill Bishop) posits, but I think he is definitely onto something interesting.

  22. Switching from reader to actually comment instead of lurking to say, “Yes, you rock.”

  23. Mind Blowing!!! Great!! Agree completely!! So right on on orange and green. Mine is yours. You definitely Rock and Roll in the right direction.
    Love your church. Great writing.

  24. You have perfectly expressed my thoughts on all of this! Except I am not as mature about people that would disown their children for being gay…or any reason. They may not have my umbrella.

  25. I would think you would have a lot of umbrellas with this drought. I was more into disowning my kids when they would fight at the table. Gay would be so easy. You said it all. I cannot believe the bias in this country. Saw a button the other day: I am Catholic and I am not voting for Obama. Really? why do you think I care about these two statements. I recently told two of my favorite “I hate Obama people”, as they were discussing the terrible things he has done ( akward sentence)Everytime you say the president’s name, Jesus smiles. Even though our oranges are not the same color, you can still have a bite of mine. Joan

  26. I try so hard not to engage with people who see orange where I see purple. But then I put something on my facebook wall that says “Hey, look, this is orange!” and they’re all “No no no no no. That’s green and also you look lame today.” And then I cry.

    Also, true story, a couple at our church who have a big huge history of being involved in everything once told me, right after it became public knowledge that we were adopting, that she didn’t understand why we would adopt from Africa. “If their real parents won’t keep them, why would you bother?” she said and I realized that regardless of what else we might have in common, we could never really be friends. I also realized that although we would likely continue attending that church (and we have) we would never really feel like we belonged (and we don’t).

    All that to say – I’m good if we don’t all see the same colors. I just wish people would stop screaming so much about how my colors or your colors or other colors are wrong and instead quietly say “Hmmm. I see your purple is my red. Can you tell me more about your purple? I’d like to explain my red to you and see if they overlap at all.”

  27. Your orange is my orange. I am also tired of the vitriol and disrespect on my FB wall.

    And I will not eat at CFA ever again.

  28. In honor of you today, I stopped an offered someone headed to the bus stop a ride (someone I knew, so not scary)–when she said no, I offered er my umbrella (it was starting to rain, so also not weird and scary). I really had the thought before I rolled down the window “Angie would do this!” Otherwise I might have gone on and second guessed myself and then brooded for days-weeks-months-years that I let someone stand in the rain because I felt stupid.

    So thanks for that.

  29. Well said, in so many ways…bravo!

    CFA never got me excited, so I really won’t miss them when I refuse to go there…although, in this part of the country one must be careful about dissing them.

    I’ve been thinking about eggplant a lot lately…so the eggplant fries really intrigue me.

    Your orange, my orange, his orange, her orange…respect the orange…whose ever it is.

  30. I need to get some disappearing purple glue for a dollar and maybe some hippopotamus pencil packs for my girls…both will be in full day everyday school starting this fall–and one is in JK–she’s going to be exhausted!

    I like orange….

  31. I wondered where the title was going to tie into all this. Pretty awesome.

    Friday I went to an Olympic opening ceremony party and someone asked if I had ever wondered what it would be like if I’d been born in another country. Which reminds me of the color perception question. The answer to both is no; I’ve never wondered if I perceive color the same as others or how my life would be different had I not been born to two Americans in the midwest.
    I guess I’m kind of a leaf flowing with the stream kind of girl – I just go with it.

  32. I’ve been reading your blog for years (longer than I’ve been married, in fact). I just had to say that this is perfect.

    1. I often wondered about the colors thing. I’m sure that my husband does not see colors the way I do.

    2. I feel so blessed to be apart of a church community just like you described. I’m glad to hear that there are more congregations like this out there.

    3. You should start a pavlovian experiment with your crabby neighbor to get her to move.

  33. First of all, good call, Meredith.

    Second of all, I get it. The colors, the thinking if we see them the same way, and the Hater-tots on facebook with these upcoming elections. I get it all. Well said.

  34. Thank you for writing this. I just came out to one of my co-workers for the first time at my job. I’ve worked there for 2 1/2 years. He joked with me and put me at ease. Then I read this. I feel cared for in a very general sense that doesn’t often happen. Like when I tried to give my girlfriend a peck on the mouth in the store the other day and she winced away and asked if I had forgotten where I was. I had. We need more of this. Much, much more of this. Thank you.

  35. Yes! We share the same orange, and our churches have the same orange walls too! This was perfectly timed as I thought today that I’m finally at a place in my life where it’s ok if some people I know cause me to have suggestions on my fb page like Sarah Palin and Tea Party Patriots. Unless they start spewing hate on my feed, I’m happy to stand next to them in the rain with my umbrella.

  36. …and that is why i love coming here! i wondered about the whole color thing too when i was a kid. AND i married a colorblind man.

    i would so want to be your friend in real life.

  37. Beautifully said. I knew there were a lot of reasons I like you, I just didn’t know what they were.

    And would you please tell Meredith that when she becomes a famous author (she will, you know) I’d like her to autograph my copy of her book.

  38. There were a couple of people on my list that I was genuinely surprised and saddened to read “went to CFA.” But only a couple. Anyone else either didn’t comment or our Purples are the same. (I like purple better than orange) (that doesn’t include the ones I knew would go, but there are only a few)

  39. Such a great post. Would that more people had your outlook and your wonderful, generous spirit.

  40. I don’t “Fakebook”. If I haven’t spoken to you in 20 years…do I really need to speak to you now? Plus, I’ve heard about all the angry going on there, especially btw the pre-teens. I have a pre-teen – so no FB in our house. Unless you are a fanatic lunatic, I say believe what you want – but keep your negative to yourself! If you were my neighbor I would totally love you! (and make you knit me stuff!!!)

  41. What a grand posting! I will be placing this link on my blog. I live in Madison–on the isthmus–and how you wrote is how this entire neighborhood lives. We are a very liberal, open, accepting area that aims as you write–to provide and umbrella. Thanks for writing this!

  42. My orange is your orange. I’m pretty sure, anyway. Great post!

    My wall is all about shenanigans. I don’t do politics in such mixed company.

    Also, nested parenthetical phrases are da bomb!

    (It’s been way too long since I’ve visited and I’m hoping you still remember me.)

  43. Oh, FP – I haven’t been here in awhile (hi!), and to float in and find this post is PERFECT. I’m in my semi-regular news blackout mode because I can’t stand all the posters and the shouting of “my orange is Orange!” that goes on. So thanks for putting this into words.

  44. Found my way here via Butterscotch Sundae, great post, I love the umbrella part. It’s challenging to love our neighbors, especially when they don’t love us back.

  45. Although totally polar opposites on the political scale, I still think we were separated at birth, share the same ideas, and see people as donuts; delicious and tasty, and even if you prefer boston creme to the icky too sweet white filling, would eat one and enjoy the experience nonetheless.

  46. I feel as if I am being lumped into a certain group (a different color, per se.) I am a person who would give my kidney to you. I don’t care if you are purple, orange, green or any color. You could be gay, straight, crooked or backwards, but Jesus said to love one another and that is what I will do. I will love you through all your faults, illnessess, dreams, tears and needs. We are human. We are all sinners and fall short. I respect life at all levels. I feel duty bound to honor the teachings that give me a moral compass. Not becuase I blindly follow and mimic, but because it is what and who I am. I have a right to disagree and be vocal. I love that about our country. I would not silence your ability to voice what you believe. Thank you for a perspective, but remember this discussion can easily lead to someone “thinking” anger towards a certain group of individuals who differ in opinions.

  47. I used to think that way about the colors too as a child. I probably have thought about it while high, as well. :)

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