Sunday, July 3, 2016


Now Playing: Silversun Pickups - Nightlight

There's this interview--or, uhm, screen test?--Elle Fanning did back in 2011 where, at one point, she talks about Paris and how it's her favorite city in the world even though she's never been there. And the reason for it being her favorite is, "it's just so pink."

I saw that interview ages ago and her answer made me laugh a lot. But it felt genuine too. She mentions desserts, but I think I concluded that it could have also been because of how young and--to use her words--girly she is. In the video--and even now--she is exactly young enough to associate love and fashion and beauty with the color pink. Which is what I think a lot of people associate Paris with--love, fashion, beauty, pastries.

So it's pink. That's the easy way to summarize it.

I don't think too much about traveling. I've never had the money to leave the state of Florida except for that one summer I went back to Ecuador for a week. I do tend to write a lot about other countries. Or at least, write a lot about people from other countries. America gets a special emphasis, but I feel weird if I have a large cast of characters and more than a quarter were born in America. That's how I learned about other nations,--I have a character, and this character was born in this particular city, so I  read a little or a lot depending on how much information I will ultimately need and remember those details.

And last night, I was sitting in the back of an Uber car, heading home, accompanied by a boy I'd technically just met that day but who I'd spoken with throughout the week. He's traveled a lot more than I have, to almost a dozen countries and who knows how many cities. But he's never been to Paris. He's also never been to Amsterdam.

He might take a two week vacation sometime during the later half of this year so I was trying to convince him to go to the latter when conversation turned to where I might like to go some day. I thought of the one city in Europe I am curious about--Berlin. Counting the whole world, though, I want to go to Seoul or Tokyo or Chicago more than anywhere else.

But as we were talking about Europe, I answered with Berlin. And I remembered days earlier how I had plagiarized Elle Fanning and compared Paris to the color pink.

So I told him if Paris is pink, Berlin is green. Seoul is neon blue, Toyko is white, New York is this nice, rich purple. I said Miami was orange, but in hindsight it's more mustard yellow. He didn't really ask me to explain the color association all too much, he just ran with it, naming cities and helping me match them with colors.

Later, after I made it home and he'd gone back to his place, he brought up another country he'd want to visit and I went back to rooting for the Netherlands and for Amsterdam. My main argument was "it's prettier," but I figured I could also throw in, "and it's also blue. And blue is the best."

He agreed and added, "I have a blue eye so I feel obligated to say so."

"What shade of blue, though?" I asked. "Amsterdam is light blue."

"I have a light blue eye and a light green eye. What city is light green?"

I had to think about it. Berlin is forest green, not light green, so I told him to start naming cities to help me out. He obliged, picking from Italy and Spain and Russia and a few others. Finally he hit Munich and it felt right so I picked it. Not necessarily because I think Germany is made of shades of green--it just sounded right.

Hours later, I thought about it--

He has heterochromia eyes, I spent the whole day with him, and I didn't see it.

My only explanation is that we went to a movie theater for the first half of the morning and then later the only way to watch Game of Thrones is in a room with the blinds drawn shut. But whatever excuses I have--legitimate or not--I still didn't notice something I should have noticed.

I know the shape of his eyes and I noticed this little scar he has on his forehead and I remember the patterns he drew on my arm with his fingers while we were watching Game of Thrones.

Yet I didn't learn the colors of his eyes until we were apart again, talking about cities and the colors that might define them.

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.