For whatever reason I sometimes think about things just the opposite of other people, and this post is a good example. Over forty years ago a colleague in Ohio said I was an iconoclast because at my tender age I had questioned some professional traditions. Well, they needed to be questioned.
Many other people share two common traits with me–happiness and optimism. So I confess that I’m an optimistic iconoclast. I often see and feel things as “good” that others may see and feel as “bad.”
Here’s an example. This past week we had 3 ½ inches of rain that fell gently for the most part over an Austin landscape that had been largely dry over the last several weeks of summer. Most people around here were happy to see the rain as well. But some people get grumpy when it rains. Their hair gets wet. Their feet get wet. Traffic is slower and it takes longer to get to work and school. The sky looks dark and oppressive. They get the rainy day blues.
When it rains I get the rainy day oranges. My artist wife Ellen tells me that orange is the color-wheel opposite of blue, so when other people are bummed out by rain, I’m as happy as a lark. There’s a lifelong reason for this. Rainy days meant that we couldn’t work in tobacco and corn fields when I was a boy. Sure, we had to walk through the rain to do chores, but I like walking in the rain. I like getting wet. I thought using an umbrella was a sissy thing to do until I became an adult.
Rain over a prolonged period can get me down in cold weather, or on trips to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia when it seems the rain just won’t end. I don’t like the rain that much. Even the optimist Willie Nelson has a fine song about the rain, “Rainy Day Blues.”
I wonder if I could get Willie to do a song about rainy day oranges. That’s an optimistic iconoclastic thought. But I wonder.