(Written 10/23/02, Edited 8/21/16)
Outside the day was as gray as my hair appeared in the mirror that morning, and I sighed just thinking about it.
“I’m not nearly as morose as I sound,” I thought, but the enticing dreariness was convincing me otherwise. “It’s a dark day,” I said to my mirrored reflection. “But so what? We all have dark days. The sun can’t shine brightly every day.”
It’s easy to go with the mood of the day—to slide into cynicism and negativity. Why not? Who cares? Gray days are meant for gray moods, aren’t they?
Gray is that inbetween color—including all the multi-shaded variations ranging from blackest black to whitest white. There are a lot more gray areas than there are the polar extremes wherever you look—whatever you see. Even silver is just light gray buffed to a high shine. There’s nothing wrong with gray. If you could actually see their true hair colors, some of my best friends are going gray. My favorite cat is gray and white. My favorite slacks outfit is gray. (Well, it’s not really my favorite, but it looks sharply astute.) That’s what gray does for you. It gives you subtle distinction.
So I was having a “subtle distinction” day. Yeah, I could go with that.
That definitely describes it better than calling it a “gray” day. A “subtle distinction” day is a day devoted to nuances rather than contrast, detached engagement rather than enthusiastic support, and perhaps even contemplative acquiescence rather than flat out refusals.
Today was the day for “maybe.” Today was the “perhaps” of lingered consideration. Today stood mootly by with glazed expression and simply said, “I AM, …or I think I AM, …if I don’t think too hard.”
Gray days are for indecision. They celebrate fence-sitting, hem-hawing, shrugging shoulders, sagging heads, blank stares, mumbled responses, luke-warm coffee, and melted ice cream.
At lunchtime a gray day will promote clerk indifference, order confusion, bad choices, and sitting in ketchup.
At dinner, you will see crabby faces, hear stinging comments about your cooking, and you will wish that you lived alone.
Gray is for quiet contemplation far away from the nasty attitudes of others.
Gray is for monastery cubicles lined with slender white candles that allow you to watch melting candle wax slowly fill the pewter holder until it spills onto the shelf and then the floor knowing that the residents won’t scold you for not blowing out the candle sooner.
Gray is for stupor—for simple, unabridged “nothing” existing between the ears.
Gray is grumbling spouses and cranky workmates, all in the same day.
Gray is finding, as you are ready to leave for work in the morning, that your garbage bag has been shredded in the night by the neighbor’s dog.
Gray is having your toddler sit on your lap with a wet, leaking diaper when you are already 10 minutes late for an appointment.
Gray is discovering an ironing rack full of clothes to press and none in your closet to wear.
Gray is welcoming your new neighbors with open arms before realizing that they like staying in your house better than their own.
Gray is having Sunday buffet with in-laws that smilingly criticize your every thought, word, and deed.
Gray is the smell of something rotten when you open the front door after a two-week, summer vacation and remembering that you meant to put the newly-purchased hamburger into the freezer rather than on the counter beside it.
Gray is having a cat that occasionally “misses” the litter box and leaves little “Uh-oh, better cover this up,” front paw tracks up the stairs, through the foyer and onto the livingroom carpet, before nesting in your favorite recliner.
Gray is for taking a deep breath and helplessly watching that 3rd button from the top pop off your blouse while meeting your new employer.
Gray is for shaking your head in disbelief at how every stoplight changes to red, just as you approach them.
Clearly, a gray day is meant for thinking all these gray thoughts, and then laughing at the craziness you call your life.