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I'm Color Blind

I've never blogged about this before.  I don't tell very many people this.  It's not that I'm ashamed or anything, but I have experienced that when someone learns that I am color blind the very next thing that happens almost invariably is they begin to point at things in the room and test me.  And, not surprisingly, they always pick out the most primary colorful items.

I'm not offended by this or anything.  I completely understand how color-blindness is a fascinating thing.  The struggle for me is how to explain as someone who is color blind to someone who isn't how what we see is different.  I see colors.  And, I can make out primary colors quite well (I call them Crayola colors).  But, it's the shades of colors that start messing with me the most.  My ability to differentiate between colors exponentially decreases as colors break away from being primary and start taking on shades of other colors.  Take the example above.  I found this photo on a guy's blog about color blindness.  Both images look exactly the same to me.  I mean, exactly the same.  As a matter of fact, I would believe that they were exactly the same if not for the comment section on that blog where people were blown away that the author couldn't see any differences in the two images.  Apparently, that author is even less color blind than I am because he said he did notice a slight difference between the red shirt in each photo (duller in the right image), but that he wouldn't notice that difference if the two images were not right next to each other for comparison.  I, on the other hand, see no difference even with him pointing it out.

I found this test on Google images.  I can tell you that I see an obvious 25 in the upper-left circle of each set, a fairly easy 56 in the middle-right circle of each set, and a very-slight 20 (or maybe 28?) in the upper-right circle of the left set only.  Aside from those, if there is a number in the other circles, I am unaware of it no matter how hard I look.

So, you may be wondering how this has affected my life.  And, I can tell you a few things for which I know I am at a disadvantage.  I hate clothes shopping.  Before Jodi graciously agreed to marry me, I bought almost exclusively jeans and t-shirts.  I understood that you could always match those two items so that was my entire wardrobe.

Laser pointers don't work with projected PowerPoint presentations.  Presenters are very fond of standing off to the side of the screen and saying things like "This and this makes this over here do that thing you see right there."  The audience then all in unison says "Oh, okay" and start scribbling notes about the amazing thing they just learned because they must have seen a bright glowing dot moving to the tune of the presenter's voice.  I just growl under my breath because the screen is full of information and I have no idea what is being talked about.  There is no dot.

Also, red text on blue background, or blue on red, or red on green, or green on red, or orange on green.  Or many other ridiculous color combinations are illegible.  I can't see them.  And, seriously?  Some of them I can make out that there's something there but I get almost dizzy trying to read it.

People ask me sometimes how I tell between a green light and a red light when I'm driving.  Well, the red one is on top.  Sheesh.  They are right to ask though.  I can't nonchalantly glance at the light while texting 'LOL' to my bestie.  I have to actually look at it to see which light is lit.  Some small towns will have just a single blinking light and I have no way to distinguish the blinking red from a blinking yellow.  Likewise, late at night, even in Springfield, Division Street will all go to blinking lights at a certain hour.  I know which ones are blinking red and which ones are blinking yellow by memory.  Yes, I have driven right through a red one before.

Back in the 90's, those cheap low-profile disk cones became popular to use for soccer practices instead of the traditional cone-shaped tall ones.  I could spot the tall ones by their shape and their height above the grass.  These stupid things were invisible unless I stepped on one.  I can't count the number of times I would dribble out of bounds and wonder why everyone was looking at me like I was stupid when I just kept on going like the ball was still in play.

Some electronics don't properly communicate their intended message to me as they were designed to do.  For example, I have two battery chargers for my Canon camera batteries.  I prefer to use the one that has a charge indicator light and a separate full indicator light.  The other one has one indicator light that shines amber while charging and green when charging is complete.  Maybe, everyone else distinguishes those two with ease, but I don't.  I have to study it for a few seconds and then make a judgement call.

I found a pretty cool website for a company that makes sunglasses that supposedly help correct color blindness.  They range from $380 to $460.  I took their test and got these results.  Notice that I tested as a "Strong Protan"?  Also notice that their recommendation has a disclaimer that these glasses may not be fully effective for me as a strong protan.  I wouldn't ever buy a pair of color-blindness-correction glasses, but it would be neat to try a pair out to see what they do and if they help at all.


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