I noticed the other day, while on the subway, when it wasn't rush-hour packed and I could see down the car, that I was the only one wearing an orange coat. The rest of the car was all black coats and jackets. On closer look, I did find a gray one, and a brown.
No other orange coats.
I pictured the view from the other end of the car -- and saw how I stuck out.
I sat in the corner, in my orange coat and teal-based scarf that my mother had knit for me I don't know how long ago.
Looking at us, you might think that I want to be seen. You might think that the black coats wanted to blend in, or that the gray and the brown gave it a little more thought, but didn't want to go too far.
I can't speak for the others, of course, but me—I just liked that orange.
And the coat's warm. It's the warmest coat I have. I got it years ago in Banana Republic with two friends. It was a color right out of my palette. Amazingly, when I put it on, it fit me, suited me. It never crossed my mind that I would be visible in my orange coat, much less that I would stand out.
I mean, really, it's just such a good orange. And there's a mellowness, an ease to it. Even though it's strong. Who cares about the person in it...That color! Just feels good.
I have no idea what led everyone else in that subway car to make their coat-color choices. If I try, I could imagine up a story for each one. And, they're probably all wrong, my projections. They're probably not as specific as the actual story of each person in each coat on the day, in the moment, when they bought it.
And, most likely, it all had nothing to do with being seen, with what the rest of us would think (as if the rest of us ever think together).
Most likely — I think most of the time, whatever we're doing, we're doing it in conversation with ourselves. With little or no awareness of the landscape of everyone else and how we'll fit with that.
About once a week, someone says something to me about the orange coat. It always surprises me — not that they liked it, but that they can see it because — me, I walk around invisible in my orange coat.