Sunday, June 26, 2011

Orange Colored Glasses

There is an old adage about looking at the world through rose colored glasses.  It is a saying about people who look at the world this way.  It is a not necessarily complimentary and implies that the wearer of the rosy lenses are naively viewing everything as positive.  Their glass is always half full.  They never seem to see the harsher reality of the world.  So, when the phrase is used, it is generally to disparage the naivete and oblivious view of the person it is directed toward.

These days we admire people that have a positive attitude.  We are encouraged to turn every twist and turn in life into something positive and helps us grow.  It is not exactly looking at the world through rose colored glasses because this philosophy challenges us to see the world as it is and not gloss over what can be nasty twists and turns.  Rather than looking at the world through rose colored glasses, this philosophy tells us to that when the world serves us lemons we need to make lemonade.  It is a good way to approach life.  It is better than glossing things over and merely look at the world through the proverbial rose colored glasses.

I do not look at the world through rose colored glasses.  I try to make the twists and turns of life into positives but I am not sure how well I am at this special skill.  What I literally do, however, is look at the world though orange colored glasses.  

Orange colored glasses?  Whatever for?

When I got into bicycling, I took a rather nasty header in my third year.  I was wearing whatever sunglasses I had laying around.  They happened to be metal framed.  The rims of the glasses cut into the bridge of my nose and right below my right eye socket.  As I healed up, I started to look into cycling glasses and learned that they are all plastic frames and lenses.  This is done to be both light but also to minimize exactly the kind of injury I had.  

I settled on Smith Sliders.  Smith is a French brand of sport glasses with interchangeable lenses of various colors, tints, and polarizations to accommodate any and every weather and visibility condition.  Changing the lenses was easy, they simply slide in and out hence the name.  When I finally got to a store that stocked Smiths, the style of frames that I liked came with clear, green polarized, brown, and orange lenses. I hesitated buying them because of the orange lenses and vocalized such to the sales person.   The fellow told me “If you buy these, you will end up only using the orange lenses.”  Huh?  Crazy.  I took it as a sales pitch but bought the glasses anyway.

I loved the glasses.  I mostly wore the green and brown in the first few weeks.  I remembered what the sales person said about the orange lenses.  I decided to give them a try  even though the idea of using orange lenses in the bright sun sounded counter intuitive.   The sales person was absolutely correct, within a few more weeks I just left the orange lenses in all the time.  What made them so good?

Like the rose colored glasses, everything just looked better.  Things are brighter and crisper.  Yet, there is no need to squint and there is less glare.  Everything is better defined.  There is more contrast.  And yes, the world looks more dull and drab when I take them off, for just a moment.  The orange color lenses are like those blue blocker sunglasses that were being peddled on TV a few years ago.   Even though I never bought a pair of those, I remember having a pair.  I have no idea where they came from.  They were OK.  These Smith’s are unbelievable.  

My daughter Armene used to always call me “orange sunglass man.”   I used to respond in three ways.  I would mostly respond “I’m looking at the world through orange colored glasses.”  But, I would also respond, “I am setting a fashion trend, you;ll see.”  Once I noticed that Bono wore almost the exact same glasses and lenses, I would say “It is just me and Bono! See, I am at the cutting edge of fashion.”

The orange lenses do not gloss over the world.  They make both the good and beautiful, as well and as the bad and ugly, more vivid and distinctive.  It is up to me, to decide which attitude to take.  

That is a life long endeavor.

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