I was looking through a catalogue the other day and I noticed that every single item in the photographs is colour-coordinated in some way. If it’s a maroon and cream sofa, then next to the sofa, there’s a brown book with a maroon binding alongside the old-style teddy bear with dark red eyes. All the models in the picture are wearing clothes that must coordinate, down to the colour of their socks and the flowers they’re holding carefully while looking out of the window in a soulful ‘I can’t move in my house because even a ruffle of the cushions will throw everything off so I just stand here meditating with flowers all day’ kind of way. So I was just wondering, what if we ended up living under the constrictions of being colour-coodinated in every day life? What if it was considered absolutely unacceptable to appear with a partner in clothes that didn’t match, if that were viewed as a faux pas as shameful as farting in public or asking a woman about the pregnancy when there is no pregnancy. Just how would we live like that ….?

“Is it the Hamiltons again this evening, dear?”

“Yes, so don’t even think about wearing that peach tie with the gold stripes.”

“But I thought their sofa had gold stripes, hon-”

“No, no, it’s off-yellow, there is a difference.”

“Tommy, come over and finish your beans-”

“Those are green beans, I hope. Last time he vomited, he’d been eating carrot and the orange clashed horribly with their shagpile carpet. It was sooo embarrassing. Now where did I put my purse?”

“Which one, hon? If you’re looking for the beige Chanel, I think it’s camouflaged among the Degauche cushions on the couch. Please put down that packet of chips, Johnny, you know we’re not wearing sand and mustard today and while you’re in the kitchen, if you could kick the dog off the rug, his fur looks dreadful against it; he needs a clean. Honey, the window cleaners are here!”

“Did they remember it’s Tuesday, our sage green and russet day? Er oh, I think not. They’re wearing dirty white as usual. Just send them away and tell them not to come back without changing.”

“Honey, are you ready for the ball on Saturday, the invitation says ‘shades of pink’, what does that mean?”

“Oh, I do hate it when they’re not precise. Remember that time when we turned up at a lilac party in dark blue? I could have died. Now, boys, come on, grab your sweaters … no, Kevin, not that one. I know it’s got a green stain on it, but that’s not enough green and anyway, the shade is too dark. No, and it doesn’t matter that Geoff gets away with murder. I know, he’s normally off by at least three or four shades. His mom is almost a pariah in church. Did you hear what happened last Sunday, honey? It was a Purple Day and she turned up, you won’t believe this, in turquoise! Ooh, it was so unpleasant. She stuck out like a sore thumb in the pew. I think someone offered to cover her with their jacket but still, can’t she learn? ….Honey? Where are you?”

“Phew, okay, are you ready? I’ve spray-painted the car a lovely deep sage, everyone, so we’re ready to go. Kevin, let’s check you against the chart. Yes, you’ll do, only just. Honey, you look fabulous as always and we’re off. Shall I leave the lights on?”

“Hmm. Yes, I think so. We’re still on yellow for the evenings …”


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