My daughter’s first favorite color was blue. Then it was purple. Then it was pink. Her preschool friend Odin, she told me, said his favorite is “dark blue.” Parents need to have a favorite color again, and when she was in her blue phase, midway through two, I told her that blue was my favorite color too. Her response was unbridled toddler rage. Odin could have “dark blue,” but blue—blue blue—was hers, and hers alone. Color—like a Thomas the Train engine or Elsa doll—was a possession, limited.
When I was in middle school, learning to turn IRC chats different colors and building fake hacker rings and Wu-Tang fan websites, I wanted my own colors. I wanted not to fit within 216, but to pick a distinctive blue—something personal, like Odin’s “dark blue”—rather than just any old blue from another corner of GeoCities’ geography. So I saved colored chips that would never render correctly—robin’s egg or deepest navy—to tile across backgrounds.
Now, when we paint or get dressed or look out at the world, colors are groups of alike friends—a blue of a dress like the blue of a car—an infinity of color, not a limited swatch. But she still likes pink best; and I like blue.