Heigh ho Silver — Away! Onward, Burnt Orange!

Incandescence, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

For the first time in our lives, we own a car that is not silver.

Now I’m not complaining about a line of used, drab, yawningly prosaic vehicles, because I am grateful for the ability to drive 30 miles on an errand as opposed to walking it.

But I bounce in raptures looking out the window and seeing a jolly cheerful orange creature waving back.

Orange.

Effervescent, bubbly, vibrant, outrageous, easy-to-spot, sizzling and scintillating orange.

I would say one-of-a-kind orange except that, on the second day that we drove our proud, saved-up-for-years purchase down the only business district street (it’s the state highway) of our one stoplight town, I spotted the identical car — of the identical color — parked next to the dentist’s office.

To be sure I wasn’t hallucinating, I drove around the block and double checked, as did Tired of Being Youngest at my side.

Confirmed. Somebody else in the least populated county of the state owns my car.

Break in the Weather, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

To put this in perspective, we just returned from a 3,000 mile business trip to Arizona, and not once did we spot a barbecued orange model twin, until, that is, we hit hometown, at which point, somebody had the baldfaced audacity to pass us in our car.

Who are these people?

More importantly, are they good people, or bad people, and what kind of reputation are they making for drivers of orange cars?

“Oh, so you’re the person driving around in the little orange car,” the woman at the feed store commented as she heaved chicken scratch into the back of the vehicle (easy on the surface there, lady. Don’t mar it).

At that point, we had owned the car for two days, so we weren’t the people driving around in the little orange car.

Those of you who do not understand our dilemma have never lived in a town so small that one sneeze on the porch translates into stories of potential tubercular infections suffered by your family or retrieving the newspaper in your bathrobe sparks rumors about what it is you really do at night to cause you to wake up so late (8 a.m.) on a Saturday.

Dawn, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

In a small town, you don’t have to do anything outrageous to hit the top of the news chain; you just have to breathe.

For years I achieved a minor level of anonymity while driving, since an informal study done by my family reveals that 4 out of 10 drivers are in some sort of compact, silver car (the remaining six, at least in our section of the world, swagger around in shiny red or white pick-up trucks, none of which you would dare toss a dirty old piece of wood into).

I became accustomed to buzzing around without drawing too much attention to myself, and if I did something stupid, well, I could have been any one of 400 people or so.

Not so anymore. And I need to get this through my head.

The other day,  I was stuck behind one of those drivers whose mission in life is to increase the gas mileage potential and blood pressure of the rest of us by driving 15 miles per hour below the legal speed limit, regardless of what the speed limit is.

“People are in such a hurry these days,” they say to the air in general. “And they seem so angry.”

Not really. Just at you.

When the opportunity to pass came I did so, and to express my irritation I gave them the index finger because, really, I’m not going to wave around that other digit. I don’t know who they were but they’re probably related to the lady I bank with or the guy who sells me bananas and I have irretrievably but justifiably offended them, but it doesn’t matter because nobody knows who I am because I drive a little silver car like everybody else —

Bay Sunset, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

Oops.

I drive an orange car.

An easily identifiable orange car.

One of two in the county.

When I realized that latter fact, I relaxed.

The driver I just offended will think that it’s the other people.

Whoever they are.

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About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
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6 Responses to Heigh ho Silver — Away! Onward, Burnt Orange!

  1. Jana says:

    Give it time, Carolyn. You’ll learn who your car twin is, because that is the way of a small town. There is the added benefit that owning such a unique car could dramatically improve your driving etiquette!

    Living in a similarly tiny town in a rural county of sparse population causes me to question the wisdom of a customized license plate, AKA “vanity plate” with the name of my business. It certainly causes me to pay attention to my driving habits!

  2. If you’re like me, Jana, you probably drive in an exemplary fashion 95 percent of the time. It is that five percent, however, that gets noticed.

    Sigh.

    Daily, we learn more and more about our car twin — we think we have a visual identification — it’s a couple anywhere between the ages of 30 and 95. That narrows it down considerably.

  3. By the way, Jana — thank you for the gracious mention on the Artz Biz Blog!!! — I was not aware of this site, and I’ve bookmarked it for future reference.
    http://www.artbizblog.com/2011/06/titles-dtt.html

    • Jana says:

      You bet! It is full of helpful suggestions for art marketing – one day I may actually buy her book, “I’d Rather Be In The Studio”. It is advertised on the FASO site where I discovered you. And, I think I discovered the FASO site through Art Biz Blog when someone referenced an article by Jack White. Phew – tangled, tangled, but beautiful like knitting!

  4. Jana: I love the way things interconnect and blend through the Internet — like you say, like a complicated knitting project.

    Now “tangled” is something I have a bit too much experience in, especially with those two-color projects, which is why I haven’t plunged too deeply into them yet. I have a lovely pair of Nordic mittens in multi-colors that I struggled my way through. I adore wearing them, but not to the point that I’m ready to make another pair!

  5. My husband has an orange car. Last year it was smushed in an accident, and he was in suspense about whether it would be totaled, since his shade of blaze orange has changed to a less recognizably orange tone with the new model. Luckily, the car could be fixed. Once, we both got into the orange car, me in my orange jacket and he in his orange chamois shirt, without thinking anything of it, until someone walking down the sidewalk started waving their arms and asked if we were in uniform.

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