Danger! Keep out!

I was driving to town with the kids this afternoon, and we got to talking about dreams. After concluding that dreams were seriously weird, and even more so considering they come from inside our heads, I said, “Yeah. A brain isn’t a place you want to go walking around alone in after dark.”

To which my daughter’s response was, “I don’t think I’d want to go wandering around there at any time.”

And it struck me that there lies the crux of being an introvert. We go walking alone in our brains, in spite of the fact it’s not a nice neighbourhood.

We go walking alone there, where anything could jump out at us, and probably will. We walk through alleys smelling of rats and urine, where all the stupid things we’ve ever said slouch in shadowy doorways drinking out of bottles in brown paper bags.

We walk through busy thoroughfares where our own doppelgangers repeat every public embarrassment we’ve ever committed over and over and over without pause.

We walk into brightly lit rooms where we are handcuffed and a poised and confident extrovert asks probing questions about why, exactly, we decided to wear our “Nerd is the new Sexy” t-shirt to the bar on Saturday night.

We step out onto the street, thinking the way is clear, and the bus carrying every one of our personal inconsistencies and incompetencies runs us down.

We pass a parked car with tinted windows, and the door opens. Out steps our younger self. She looks us up and down and sighs. “I thought by now you’d have done something with your life.” She rolls her eyes and stalks off.

We walk past a tall chain link fence topped with razor wire. On the other side is the hitchhiker we didn’t pick up last August, the crying child we didn’t comfort two years ago, the Salvation Army bell ringer we didn’t empty our pockets for on December 23, 1989.

The mind is the seedy place we introverts are drawn to in the dead of night, when the happy extroverts are tucked safely in bed or walking brightly lit streets with a crowd of friends. It’s a bad neighbourhood, but it’s our own, and maybe we think we can fix it up if only we visit it frequently enough.


Colours in the Garden

2016-01-12 08.31.38 smJanuary can be a pretty brown month, and it is especially brown this year, with the El Niño induced drought. So I’ve been appreciating the flowers in the garden even more than usual.

When I wandered through the garden this morning and saw this view, I had to capture it.

But why do I enjoy these bright colours? Why not appreciate the brown?

There is a great deal of speculation about our colour preferences. Some people believe that our colour preferences are evolutionarily based. The most popular colours are blue and green. These would have been important colours for our ancestors to focus on—the blue of clean water and clear skies, the green of plants.

But as far as I can tell, there’s no good data to support that theory.

And many of us like colours other than blue and green, too.

A research paper published in 2010 by psychologists Stephen Palmer and Karen Schloss at UC Berkeley found that people’s attitudes toward colours were based on their experiences with objects that were normally associated with those colours. Basically, if you like sunny days, you’ll like the colour blue. If you like tomatoes, you’ll like the colour red. (But if you like sunny days, you won’t necessarily like blue tomatoes, because you don’t expect blue to be associated with tomatoes.)

And, as you would expect, they also found that those preferences were culturally influenced, and people from different cultures had different colour preferences.

So there’s probably no evolutionary advantage to me loving this garish juxtaposition of pink, green, red and blue. I just love it because I love the garden.