Friday, April 07, 2006


I used to think that orange was an ugly color. In the cool navy-blue and crimson days of the mid-1990s, orange was the color of outdated burger franchises and rusting automobiles. Orange was obnoxious, tacky, tasteless. Orange was only interesting to long-haired middle-aged freaky people stuck in the 1970s -- the only ones who would obliviously employ "groovy" colors as sunset and avocado and burnt siena for interior decorating or clothing apparel.

But somewhere, somehow -- something has changed along the way. And now orange means, well, something. Something warm. Something beautiful. Something personal... And what can I say? I like orange.

Orange is the color of Bowling Green State University. A place vivid, bright, alive in my memory -- where I became me. The color orange fits the memories perfectly: so vivid and bright and alive. Anderson Arena filled with orange shirts and orange hats -- climbing the heights of hysteria on the backs of Antonio Daniels and Anthony Stacey. An orange wool cap, emblazoned with a brown falcon logo, given to me by a friend. Orange corridors. Orange parties. Orange flyers... Falcon Orange.

Orange is the color of Holland. A place unusual, riotous, flavorful -- where my family has become us. The color orange fits the memories perfectly: so unusual and riotous and flavorful. The Museumplein filled with orange shirts and orange hats -- listening to the music and drinking the wine of Koninginnedag. An "oranje voetbal" shirt, emblazoned with a black royal lion logo, unsuspectingly purchased on the same day as a friend and traveling companion. Orange cafes. Orange streamers. Orange everything... Het Huis van Oranje.

Orange is the color of the Zolder Lounge -- so much so that it's often simply referred to as the "oranje kamer" or the "orange room." A place warm, intimate, gezellig -- which is exactly my association of the memories born in the space. Idealistic Americans smearing orange paint on the walls, orange curtains on the windows, orange pillows on the floors. An orange sunlight filtering through the windows in late afternoon and causing orange ripples to dance on the orange ceiling. Prayer. Food. Conversation... Zolder Orange.

I was thinking about all of this after seeing some recent pictures on friends' blogs. I don't know exactly what it is -- but there is something about photographs taken in the orange-reflected hues of the Zolder Lounge that seems to make anything and anyone appear instantly and effortlessly vintage, classic, poignant. The kind of pictures that the individuals featured within the shot will look at one day with their children and sigh -- maybe with a fond "tsk" of the tongue -- to remember the golden days of our youth and creativity and naivete. The above picture is an example of this, taken from the early days of the Zolder, featuring Todd and Jonas in the "orange room." It just seems to express to feeling of the Zolder -- simple, relaxed, and orange. Other examples of such contemporarily nostalgic images can be found in Marco's pictures, from earlier this week... or in Jenni's pictures from last week. If you take a look at the pictures, I think you'll understand what I mean.

It's great to be orange.


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