Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The name Bob is orange

So says my blogging friend LightExpectaions, who is a synesthete, which means she has a condition called synesthesia. There are several types of synesthesia, and hers enables her to see the colors of letters and numbers. I know. I never heard of it either. But it is apparently real. I think this is not the same as those New-Agey types who claim to be able to read people’s auras. They are just plain weird, and LightExpectations has never struck me as weird. She told me a few posts back that the word “lothario” is blue, and who am I to argue?

I just wonder whether all people with LightExpectation’s type of synesthesia see letters and numbers and words the same way or if each person’s color palate is unique to that person. I mean, Joe Blow’s version might see “Bob” as green and “lothario” as purple, and Sally Pimienta’s version might see “Bob” as turquoise and “lothario” as chartreuse.

I know that Wikipedia is not a definitive reference source, but here’s its article on synesthesia if you want to learn more.

All of which made me think of this song, which was sung by Kitty Kallen back in 1962:

“My Coloring Book” (3:18)

I don’t know what color it is, but I found it quite poignant.


  1. My understanding is that it's an individual thing, so whereas you might be orange to one person, you could be some other color to another. As you pointed out, It's not a mystical experience but a matter of neural wiring.

  2. I see "Rhymes With Plague" as pink, tending towards red. I see "Yorkshire" as golden and "Pudding" as diamond coloured. Some bloggers' names appear to me as brown with green or black veiny strands running through them. Snowbrush is snow-coloured and very useful for sweeping paths in the wintertime.

  3. lol... Educating and entertaining and enlightening your readers as usual, aren't you? Yes, the question "does everyone agree on the colors?" is the first question I hear when people find out I'm a synesthete. Well, the first question after, "what color is my name?" And the answer is that my sisters and I disagree vehemently on the colors, rolling our eyes that our siblings could be so blind.

    I'm awfully glad to have taught you something new ~ I wouldn't have thought that was possible for you ;)


  4. I am one of LightExpectations sisters and we would lie in bed at night as kids and ask each other, "What color is Wednesday?" and then proceed to disagree on the answer. Bob is brown, clearly. And lothario is brown and blue. With a little bit of white. It's just so obvious. ;)

  5. Thank you, Snowbrush, LightExpectations, and new reader Laura Scott, for your comments! I left out Y.P. on purpose....

  6. "I'm awfully glad to have taught you something new ~ I wouldn't have thought that was possible for you ;)"

    Now, THAT could certainly be taken in two very different ways, but I think we should all agree that it was meant in the one that is flattering.

  7. Snowbrush, I saw the wink and the smile at the end and took it in stride.