The Most Colorful Time of the Year

by Nook Schoenfeld
in Editor's Note
Nook Schoenfeld, Editor, PLSN
Nook Schoenfeld, Editor, PLSN

It’s a good thing February is the shortest month, because except for the bright reds you see around Valentine’s Day, it’s one of our least colorful months. By mid-January, I’m already nostalgic for the holiday season. For a few weeks every year, everything becomes colorful in America again. I drive around and see beautiful green foliage in living rooms and on doors, long after the leaves have fallen. Multi colored holiday strings of lights add to the red candy canes that illuminate our city streets.

Then, just after the New Year, we take all those lights down and return to our monochromatic colored world that somehow our country has become. I wonder, where have all the saturated colors in our world gone? Las Vegas, perhaps?

Worlds Apart

I remember the first time I crossed the Iron Curtain and went into communist East Germany in the early 1980’s. It was like entering another dimension. All the cars seemed to have similar box shapes, and they were all drab colors. I remember seeing one automobile that actually had color, and that was a putrid olive drab hue probably devised by mixing a lot of leftover remnants of paint into one bucket. The buildings all looked gray or brown; weathered with no sheen to any granite, no polish to any bronze. When I returned west, I felt much more positive about my surroundings.

All one must do is take a drive around their town and look for color. Every neighborhood used to have a bright red firehouse. Mine’s now a metallic white with a lone red door. The only store I see that is affiliated with a certain color is Target. That red logo is like a beacon. I think a lot of stores shy away from yellow. Perhaps it’s the fear that McDonalds has such a monopoly on that particular hue.

Every neighborhood used to have at least one crazy person who painted their house purple or shocking pink. We would smile and shake our heads as we drove by. I don’t have any of them near my residence now. We keep to the same boring gray, tan and white hues. Occasionally somebody may come up with a lavender hue, but then people on their block will talk. It won’t last.

Color Spotting

Get on the freeway and play a game. See how many saturated colored cars you see per 100 vehicles. Something I tried twice this week. I got one or two percent. And out of that amount, most of them were red. What happened to the canary yellow Camaros or those orange cars like the Dukes of Hazzard drove? I look for blue cars and I see an occasional dark blue metallic hue. No bold navy blue models. Most hurtful of all to me is the lack of a good green color on any vehicle other than a John Deere tractor.

I went online to search for a new car. By color. It seems they make 99 percent of all cars in four colors now. White, silver, black or charcoal. They are phasing out brown and tan for some unknown reason. I’m looking by color. I see SUVs are my best bet for any bright colors. In fact, I see a Cadillac Esplanade in a dark green metallic color that is to die for. But I live in a city, I can’t park this yacht. BMW and Audi get credit for providing the coolest red and blue shades. They even offer to make you a custom green painted model. I won’t guess the cost of that as the other models are already out of my league. I am piqued by this Hyundai Santa Fe I see in a Chrome Burnt Orange color.

I drive down to the section of town where all the new car lots line up. I slowly traverse the lots. Literally none of the cars on any lot are the colors I could choose online. I’m guessing everyone wants to be like their neighbor and pick from the aforementioned four colors. I certainly live in white bread America. I walk into the Hyundai dealer. We drive a car. I agree on a trade-in price. I list the extras I require and we cut a deal. All is good until I ask him when he can get me the Chrome Burnt Orange model. Everything grinds to a halt. I point to the model option online and say, “I want this. For the agreed price…I can wait.”

That was several weeks ago, and I am still driving my silver ride around. Apparently, someone has to drive my new car here. Californians appreciate the color more than Minnesotans. Now with everything covered in snow, that could take a while. Glad I have some bright lights to color my day.

For Nook’s video introduction to the Feb. 2017 issue of PLSN go to