Monday, June 05, 2006

A cautionary tale

Once upon a time there was a Charlottesville housfrau who endured great inconvenience and disruption in order to put an addition on her house. When it was finished, she painted her new rooms with a paint described as “Jade White” but which might more accurately have been labeled “Operating Theatre” or “Chlorine.” She tried her best to get used to the color, but every time she looked at her new rooms, her heart sank. So she went back to the paint store. She looked and looked at paint chips, careful to go with colors labeled “warm” or “neutral” and avoiding “Clean,” “Cool,” or “Fresh.” Not that she didn't want her rooms to look clean, cool, or fresh, but she had learned the hard way that these hues could make a room feel either cold and clinical or manic and hyper.

She picked a new paint, brought it home, and opened the can. It was the exact same color as the old paint! Different paint company, different name, same color. She hastily slapped some paint on the wall, and noticed a subtle difference. “This new paint is warmer,” she told herself. “I will go ahead and repaint and the effect will be subtle, but Important.” So she painted her rooms with the new paint. There was a difference, although it was so subtle it was nearly invisible, and when the housfrau's husband came home he didn't notice that the color had changed, and so never found out that his wife wasted money on a whole new gallon of paint.

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