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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Strange Encounters

Sometimes I feel like life is one series of Strange Encounters of Some Kind or Another. Most days when I worked in an office, more than half of the six people I worked most closely with would be wearing the same color that I was wearing. How is that for leadership, anyway?

And I am not talking about UK blue before some big game or red and black in recognition that U of L was playing that night. Rather, I am talking about everyone showing up in a blouse or sweater (the type of garment may vary, it is just the color that is coordinated) in an unusual shade of green. Or maybe another color somewhere between rose and purple. There are days where if you lined us up and covered our heads you would have difficulty distinguishing from the color blur who was who.

There must be some logical explanation for this matched dressing, but I have yet to discover it. I’ve wondered if most people watch the same television program the night before and a particular color has “struck” everyone, perhaps subconsciously, with such impact that we all want to imitate the announcer’s color clothing choice. But then, I seldom watched the evening or the morning news when I worked in an office. Then and now I usually bury my nose in the newspaper when I have a few minutes of quiet time at home. And I do not think I am taking my fashion color cues from the headlines.  Maybe from the funny papers.

I’ve heard there are no coincidences.  Maybe that is Ochhim’s Razor, or maybe Ochim’s Razor is the principle says the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. The statement about no coincidences sounds more like Clint Eastwood in one of his Dirty Harry movies. Anyway, there was some strange coincidence with color going on among the people with whom I worked and I have yet to determine any reasonable explanation other than we all really are in a Spielberg movie about coincidental occurrences.

And to add to the stranger than fiction element to this phenomenon, it is not just people in my immediate office who demonstrate this psychic color –coordination tendency. I attended a three-day, out of town, training course. The course specified casual dress. I knew none of the other participants. The first day, the fifty or so attendees, at least half of whom were male, wore clothes that appeared to be randomly selected at least if you judged the selections based on a color.

The second day, more than half of the participants appeared in the morning wearing a top of the same color, regardless of whether they wore a shirt, blouse, sweater, or polo, the garment that covered their upper body was of the same odd shade. And this particular color was so different that it was difficult to even describe. Maybe it was coral or salmon, or some might call it a shade of orange. Whatever you called it, we were wearing it. And many of the folks who did not have a top in that color had a scarf, jacket or something else in the same strange shade of coraly-salmon-orange.

Now maybe that was the latest fashion color of the season and we had all brought a garment in that color along because it was a new article of clothing. We did not want to look like we were trying to make a fashion statement that first day of the class. So, after meeting and feeling comfortable with our new surroundings and class members, we all reached deep into our suitcases and extracted the garment in the most fashionable color we had brought with us.  But doesn’t that feel like a stretch to come up with an explanation? Even Occhim probably would have to acknowledge that is not the simplest explanation for what appears to be some psychic connection in color scheme amongst a group of people.

Recently, as I and the rest of the group of women with whom I take water aerobics were getting dressed, we discovered almost all of us were simultaneously pulling on brown slacks.  I also had a stripey brown-orange sweater. someone else had a brown scarf and a third person was wearing a brown jacket.

So you see, the color synchronicity has survived my office and emerged full-blown into my water class.  But at least not yet in the water for the most part.  Even though some days most of us have on a blue or black swimsuit, I refuse to count that as those are exercise suits.  We all have a relatively limited selection of swimsuits; nevertheless, two participants have worn a swimsuit identical to one or another I have owned.  Not counting the swimsuits made specifically for water exercises there is a little color weirdness even in the water going on.   

I, for one, believe there are many strange coincidences in this world. Some have rational explanations. Others may have rational explanations and we just have not found that explanation yet. Other coincidences may be just that, coincidences.

But also  there may be something out there that is connecting us all, or at least those of us who get the color signal of what to wear that day. Rather than struggle with the rationale for why these things happen, I think it would be more productive to channel some of this psychic energy into a shopping trip to search for a garment in what will be the fashionable color everyone will be wearing the next time I walk into a large group. Or perhaps if I can harness this connection I can use it to figure out the next lottery winner, Kentucky Derby winner, or which color will be in vogue next year. That type of psychic ability ought to be of some use. But I still never know what to wear.

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