Color is something most people take for granted. Everyone has a favorite color and color plays an important role in branding ideas about society. It has become a useful tool for artists and storytellers alike. It’s also something I personally find little value in. Perhaps my disinterest in the importance of color is due to the fact that I see the inherent racial tensions color-branding can lead to. Or perhaps it’s because I’m colorblind… Yeah, that’s probably the reason.
Being colorblind is a hereditary trait, so it’s something I picked up from my grandfather. Specifically, I’m red-green colorblind, but that’s really just a term and doesn’t begin to describe the way I actually see the world. While it’s not a major handicap, it still leads to a number of frustrations most people would never consider. My biggest problem with being colorblind is that I need to have someone with me whenever I go clothes shopping. Had it not been for my mother telling me to, “Go pick something else out,” I’d have spent my young adulthood wearing purple and pink instead of blue and red. While, admittedly, some guys can pull it off, it’s not exactly the look I’m going for. Clothes aren’t the only shopping problem though, gift shopping for friends/family can become a decidedly awkward affair if handled improperly. It’s one thing to get something in the wrong size, but people don’t usually expect their presents to be the wrong color.
Again, my condition is nothing too severe, but it still has plenty of instances where it’s more than a nuisance. While I can see the difference between shifting traffic lights, thankfully, it is nearly impossible for me to play a majority of board games and some video games. One of my favorite board games is a strategic-war game called Risk. It’s meant to be played with up to six players, but unfortunately I can only play with two other friends, otherwise the pieces blend together and look alike. It’s hard to plan out your merciless takeover of the entire world when you can’t tell where your own soldiers are. Video games can be equally frustrating, because for some reason the majority of game developers decided that character vitality-bars/special mini-games should be based on a red-green system; meaning I can’t always tell when my character is about to die or participate in a majority of mini-games within each game. Whether this is intentionally done to spite me or not is an ongoing investigation.
In particular, another problem I have with being colorblind is having to explain to other people that I’m colorblind. Not because I feel it’s anything to be ashamed of, I know better than that, but because people always seem to respond the same way about it. Throughout middle school and high school, every single classmate asked me the same questions. “You’re colorblind? So… what color is this notebook?” “What color is this desk?” “What color is my shirt?” People, if I knew what color it was, I wouldn’t be freaking colorblind. Now that I’m in college, this doesn’t happen as often, yet it still occurs more often than I’d like it to. I understand that it’s interesting to other people, and that being colorblind is just something most can’t comprehend, but I’m not a circus animal. I don’t exactly revel in my colorblindness, so as strange as it might seem I’m not chomping at the bit to show off just how little of the world I can visually appreciate. Fortunately, since my condition isn’t a visual one (from the perspective of other people anyway) they often forget about it and I can get on with my life.
While colorblindness wasn’t exactly my superpower of choice, those were the cards I was dealt so I just live with it. Luckily, emerging technologies have taken an interest in the relatively small number of people who suffer from the condition, and so applications are being developed to help me better distinguish between colors. There’s a saying among tech-junkies such as myself that goes, “There’s an app for that.” It means there is at least one application that can do just about anything the mind can imagine. Recently, an app was invented for Smartphone users that allows them to point the phone’s camera lens toward an object, and using some special techno-magic, adjusts the color on the phone’s screen so colorblind people can see what the object actually looks like. Now if they could just find a way to implement that technology into eye glasses, the world would be a much more beautiful place to live. Literally.