I’m shopping for a new car. When we bought the last one (sometime in the Late Middle Ages), we made sure to get a green one, because we didn’t want to have the same silver model that everyone else seemed to be ordering. We wanted something that would stand out in the parking lot when we’d forgotten where we parked. This worked well, except when someone else had also bought a green car, since ours was apparently the only model available in green, so there was occasionally confusion. But we never drove off in the wrong car, so it worked out okay.
That doesn’t seem to be an option any more. Try buying a green car. I dare you. Yeah, the Minis and little cars that don’t care who laughs at them because they actually enjoy having a personality come in colors, but mostly you get black, white, and grey/silver. Most brands have five versions of those shades, and maybe one red. One brand had ten colors, including two whites, two dark blues, and two greys. I think they had a red. And a brown. Green? No. Yellow/light blue/purple? Please, you’re making me laugh.
I blame 9/11. Ever since then we’ve been cocooning, hiding from the world, not wanting to stand out. Drive a silver car. Blend with the herd.
Which leads, oddly enough, to a revelation about writing. My writing. My reading tastes were fashioned (as they usually are) as a child. And even though I spent five years at a major university reading literature, my heart was rarely in it, because I don’t like to read “literature.” The problem is that I’d like to write it; at least “literature” as understood by the SF community. (A topic for a later time.) There’s been a lot of controversy lately about awards, and what they should mean. Some of the commenters have stated for the record that they don’t care about awards. Well, I do. I’d love to win one. But that isn’t going to happen if I write silver (Age) fiction. So I’m going to be making a conscious effort to raise my reading standards, in hopes that it will raise my writing standards. We’ll see how that goes.
In the meantime, I’ll be looking for a non-silver, non-black car. Because if you don’t want to blend in, at some point you have to stand out.