LETTER: 50 Shades of Crosswalk
“It’s not easy being green,” said Kermit the Frog. Turns out it’s not so easy being anything involving more than one colour these days, if the crosswalk debate is any indication. How did Lifesavers ever get its rainbow coalition of colours into a single package without mass revolt about things with holes in the middle (gutter rats damn you…it’s about the candy…it’s all about the candy)?
We used to celebrate the rainbow for the pot of gold at the other end, for the beauty amidst fading fury of bone cracking summer storm. But turn that sky frown upside down, flatten it out and put it on a crosswalk and we are suddenly all a titter, a democratic mess of controversy more deeply felt than a capital budget item proposing to dig a moat around City Hall. Colour is gay apparently. Not happy gay, but gay gay – the kind where we worry that we walk across painted kaleidoscope to have our gayness rupture to the fore, leaving our opposite of sex partners behind for parades in West Vancouver and a new wardrobe of sleeveless shirts. Who knew ROY G BIV would feel like a new boyfriend with a traipse across a handful of “straight” lines.
When I was a kid, the Oh Canada band Straight Lines sang “The Hardest Part of Love Is Letting Go.” Lovers are gonna love. Haters are gonna hate. Whether you are a lover or a hater, we all gotta let go of leaping to assumptions about the colour wheel. I don’t see Gay Pride parades hanging out at the paint chip section of the hardware store.
I think the world is full of too much hate. Tolerance, acceptance, and irrelevance of who you love is a celebration of how advanced a society is. Instead we live in a world quick to kill and maim, to hate, to deceive, to manipulate, to forge despair from opportunity. I sit romantically on the side of the 60 per cent of songs written about the power of love. How ironic that love is blind…it doesn’t even see the blasted kaleidoscope in the crosswalk.
Paint by numbers was fun as a kid. My box of 56 crayon colours was fun as a kid. I like different colours on my plate. It never broke the bank…it opened my imagination. Colour hasn’t made me gay (though there’s nothing wrong with that). It’s made me mad that gay people have stolen my colours in clichedom.
There’s more to a crosswalk than black and white. Colour your world, people who love life. Be once in a blue moon with that crosswalk – show the world you are a community that celebrates being different – for all its life affirming frivolity. Make other places red with envy. The grass will be greener for it. Go ahead – mix it up with the colourful comments, those who don’t appreciate the lighter side of life.