Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Are you in a mood?

Someone - perhaps one of my children - said to me the other day, "Wouldn't it be great if we had mood cars? You know, like mood rings, only it's our car. So everyone would know everyone else's mood by just driving around."

I think that would be a fantastically wonderful idea, although I might be a little afraid that my car would perpetually be a dark shade of something for a good portion of the time, given the fact more often than not when I'm behind the wheel I'm late for something.

But what if we take this one step further. What if WE all changed color based on our mood, just like those cool mood rings of the 70's? Would the world be a better place if we all knew up front how we all were feeling? Wouldn't it save a lot of time and energy for those of us who perpetually analyze people trying to figure out what their problem is or why they are the way they are? And for those who never bother to care, it would be evident enough that those of us who do care would be satisfied to know that our emotions were on the table.

I  know, it's confusing. Let me explain. That boss or client or co-worker that always seems to be in a bad mood or upset about something. Maybe he or she isn't feeling well, or struggling through some inner turmoil. Or maybe he or she is just an angry, terrible person. Wouldn't it be great if that person could show up at work a nice shade of navy blue on those days so you could refer to your "mood chart" and conclude that "navy blue" = "exhausted due to lack of sleep from new baby" or "I hate my job and I'm hoping to have an interview any day now"?

Or your boyfriend shows up late for your date sporting a lusty shade of pink. On the outside, it may appear that he's just overwhelmed with love and the anticipation of seeing you. But upon further review of your chart, you see that "pink" = "thinking about someone else and not really that into you." Hurtful? Yes. But helpful nonetheless.

I think this idea would be most beneficial when it comes to my children, namely my teenager, whose range of emotions seems to go from ambivalent to indifferent to just plain vague. Wouldn't it be great if he came in the door purple ("met a girl"), green ("got in trouble at school") or better yet orange ("loving life but don't want to let on to my mom that I'm really happy")?

No longer would anal-retentive, emotionally insecure people like me have to spend countless hours and effort trying to figure out what everyone else is thinking or feeling based on how they're acting. No longer would we need to wonder if we're saying or doing the right thing to either perpetuate those positive emotions or exacerbate the bad.

Maybe it would cause us to have more empathy when we see that the rude check-out clerk is a subtle shade of olive, meaning that she's dealing with tough economic times. Or we'd pass on giving an angry look to the aquamarine man who runs into us with his shopping cart when we realize he just lost his wife and hates grocery shopping alone. Or you finally run into that bright orange friend who hasn't returned your phone calls and you see by looking at her shade that she's not upset with you; rather she's had to take on an extra job and hasn't had time to call.

I'm guessing that wearing one's emotions colored on their skin could perhaps be counterproductive, like when you'd really just like to keep things to yourself. But for those people who are so incredibly hard to read, it would be a true service to those of us trying so hard to figure them out.

I give up - I guess just color me plaid.

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