According to the National Day Calendar, today is National I Want You To Be Happy Day. Sounds generous, right? But as I learned last month, it ain’t necessarily so.
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is the phenomenon where something you recently learned suddenly appears ‘everywhere’. Also called Frequency Bias (or Illusion), the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is the seeming appearance of a newly-learned (or paid attention to) concept in unexpected places.
One of the reasons I bought my car was its unique bluish metal color — Dolomite Silver. Visions of Italy’s Dolomite mountains and ice-blue glaciers made me dreamy. Until a few weeks later when I began to notice silver cars. Everywhere. They seemed to be the only cars on the road.
“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
Following the crowd makes me uncomfortable. If it’s a best-seller, top-rated, in fashion, popular…or everywhere, then I’m likely not to like it. I like weird. So like a kid left alone with drawing paper, colored pens, stickers, stamp and ink pads, I decide to pinstripe my brand new car.
Aaron arrives in the morning with an array of enamel paint colors. We choose a shade named peacock blue for the lines. He would use white/gray for the stars. Late morning, he calls me outside to look at the color on the car. “Hmm. I don’t know, it’s kind of bright,” I said politely. He assures me, “It’ll look different in the sunlight and in the shade.” I acquiesce, “You’re the artist.”
The designs are rad, but the colors are unsettling — the blue reminds me of the handicap parking sign color; the stars are dull and without shimmer. Maybe, hopefully, the colors will grow on me. By now it’s late afternoon and time to stop the madness. To make him feel good and happy, I practically dance around the car saying, “I love it! I love it!” Liar, liar, pants on fire.
Days later in text I write to Aaron: I know you said the existing color would change but it’s still too neon. He replies: I was under the impression that you loved the color otherwise I would’ve tried to wipe it off the same day. Then I call him to speak in person. “This has been another life lesson for me. You see, I like to make others feel good — sometimes at the expense of me feeling good — which is unfair to all involved.”
This costly lesson, yet to be determined if learned, is on me. Next time — One: Trust myself. Just because I’m not an “artist” doesn’t mean I don’t know what I like. Two: Honesty, with tact and a gentle tone, is The Way. Three: It’s not selfish to want you AND me, to be happy.
Since then, driving around town and on a corner I’ve passed a hundred times, I spy impressive pinstriping artwork on a trash receptacle. Eddie’s Custom Cars. Right here in Morro Bay. Wolfgang is painting my car as I write this post. So far, I believe the color is going to be perfection and the stars, the stars are going to twinkle…
Wolf just texted. Ready tomorrow. Photos forthcoming…
“Everybody plays the fool, no exception to the rule.” – The Main Ingredient