July 11, 2014
Not-black is MY new black
The default color for a lot of devices is, it seems, black. I can look up from where I'm typing and spot these items in black: monitors (3), keyboards (2), USB hub, computer speakers, mouses/mice (2), laptop, external hard disks (2), modem, router, TV, remotes (3), Roku device, cellphone, chargers, almost all cords, headphones. Not everything is black, but that certainly seems to be ... popular.
It's, what, elegant, I suppose, but it has its downsides. Whenever I'm rooting around in the dark recesses of my backpack for my mouse (black) or bag o' connectors (black) or earbuds (black), I find the near invisibility of these items somewhat inconvenient. However, I accidentally made a discovery that has begun to change my life, so it's got me thinking about this mania for black.
After I got my most recent phone, I was looking for a one of those protective silicone jackets for it. I found one at a kiosk at the mall, but the girl was apologetic: sorry, the only color we have is red. Oh, well, I thought, I can live with that.
And boy, can I ever. With its bright-red cover, my phone now is quite visible. Indeed, I never have trouble finding it, even if I've carelessly left it on our (green) couch or if it's ended up in the passenger footwell of the car.
A guy I used to work with is a big fan of the classic Moleskine notebooks and carries a couple of them everywhere—one for work notes, one for personal notes. After I'd had my epiphany about the red phone cover, I noticed that one of his notebooks was black, the other red. When I asked him about it, he had a similar story: they'd been out of black, so he got a red one, and that had actually worked out well, since not only could he distinguish his notebooks, but he had a lot less trouble finding them.
Since then, I've gone out of my way to look for bright colors. When I ordered a Kindle Paperweight (black, of course), I ordered an orangey-red (!) leather cover for it. I never, ever have trouble finding it in my backpack, by the bedside, or halfway under the couch when I've fallen asleep reading.
My phone and Kindle
I can probably continue to work fine with my black keyboards and monitors, but if I could paint the TV remotes, I would definitely do that. Yes, I think my life us going to be a lot more colorful in my future.