The Color of Optimism

I am an optimist.  But have you noticed that people who are pessimists don’t admit it?  They just say they are “realists.”  Yeah, whatever.  Anyway, I have this attitude that things are going to be okay.  And they usually are.  Life works out alright most of the time.

This is why I never buy paint samples.  I’m always optimistic that the first gallon of paint I get will turn out looking great on my wall.  I have probably purchased several dozen different colors over the years and I have liked them all.  See?  Things work out.  Why should I waste $3 on a paint sample, if I have always had such good luck?  (I guess I’m really cheap, too.)

I say that I have liked all the colors I’ve painted in the past, but that isn’t the entire truth. I knew ahead of time that I was painting a room Pepto-Bismol Pink, and that I would not like it.  But I painted it that color anyway to please my then seven-year-old daughter.  She chose the color and was very pleased about it.  Since I don’t have to be in her room more than five minutes a day, it was worth making her happy.

Recently it was time to paint our dining room.  The color had always been something short of blah.  I decided that it should be a vibrant, warm shade of blue.  I guess I haven’t really painted many things blue.  Come to find out, blue is a hard color to gauge from a little square color patch you analyze while standing in the aisle of a hardware store.

After I painted the room, I stood back to admire it.  I expected it to be a rich, solacing, festive blue color.  It was supposed to be an inviting and splendid backdrop for countless meals shared with friends and family.

As I stood there, trying to tell myself that I loved it, I realized with a sinking heart that it was an epic failure.  The more I stared, the more I felt like the color should be the backdrop of a sci-fi film set.  In the artificial light, the room took on an ominous, bluish glow.  I then told myself that I should just give it a day and, in the morning light, I would think it was fabulous.  Right?  Right.

When I woke up the next morning and went to inspect the room I realized exactly what kind of blue it was.  In fact, if you watched kids’ TV in the ‘80s, you would no doubt recognize it too.  Let’s just call it Smurf Blue. aa-smurf

Kevin told me very tactfully, but also very forcefully, that he really hated it.  So, nine days later I painted it again (without buying a paint sample in advance, of course).  And we loved it.

I will always be an optimist.  I just can’t help it.  Like I told Kevin, “I pick the first paint I like and go with it.  I pick the first guy I fall in love with [him] and go with it.”

It all works out.  Usually.


4 thoughts on “The Color of Optimism

  1. I am such a pessimist that I assume I’m going to hate the final paint color even if I get a paint sample. Then again, maybe cheapness IS the controlling factor here.

    You have to post pictures after this!


    • Carrotqueen–funny! I will try to post something soon, although I think it’s hard to really get a sense of color from a picture. The new color of blue is much more muted, so that’s why we like it so much. Lesson learned. Go for more muted, when in doubt. And also always go a shade or two lighter than the color you think you like!


  2. My approach has been to let Amanda pick the paint. She has an amazing ability to extrapolate a paint chip to an entire wall or room and have it turn out exactly how she envisions it. On a related note, she could probably fit a couple more clowns in the telephone booth than anyone else. Mad skills!


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