Monday, January 24, 2005

And the Winner is…..RED!

When I was in grade school, we took standardized tests at least once a year. I found them rather dull and invented ways to entertain myself while taking them. One of my favorites was to pretend that my answer sheet was a visual representation of a horse race. Whichever letter was marked the most, won. In my head I could hear the announcer: “A has taken the lead, with C a close second. E is coming up from behind, taking the last three questions. It looks like a dark day for B and D….”
I’ve left standardized tests, but not dull tasks, behind. I now use a similar diversion to entertain myself while sorting laundry. Most people sort into whites, colors, and darks. I sort whites, reds, blues, greens, grays, and blacks. The color pile that can make a complete load wins. Amazingly, I usually have a full load of reds. Blues, greens, grays, and blacks are usually a half load each, with whites weighing in at a mere quarter load. Still, there is the excitement of perhaps having an entire load of green, thanks to our green towels. After sorting, the fun continues. I find it fascinating that the washer water becomes tinted the same color as the load, no matter how many times the items have been washed. The dryer lint is also color coordinated.
Instead of classifying my behavior as eccentric, I believe it is quite normal. It is human nature to find categorizing a satisfying activity. The brain is a pattern-finding organ. We use these patterns to sort information in virtual “bins” for easy integration and recall. We make sense of our world, and our laundry piles, by sorting and labeling. Who knew laundry could be such a cerebral exercise?


Blogger Jess said...

Oh my gosh. You do that TOO? Except mine is reds, yellows, whites, and blues/greens/blacks. I've been told that I should make paper out of the lint. I think that would push it over into the really eccentric. :-)

10:58 AM  
Blogger Scott in Washington said...

I once read in Natural History Magazine that we probably developed our advanced reasoning ability, ability to categorize, and to remember in response to a life and habitat where we had to travel long distances to gather fruits and nuts from a variety of trees and bushes at different times of the year. We had to remember and distinguish what would be where when. Maybe by sorting your socks and towels, you are satisfying some primeval urge to remember when the cumquats are in season.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Pixie Potters Adventures said...

It's better than being retarded, like someone I know named SD!

6:55 PM  

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