Different Shades of Yellow

It’s almost spring. Actually it’s almost the promise of spring.
I am wearing my yellow pullover and getting my cup of afternoon tea at the coffee area, when I meet this nice Irish lady who works on my floor.
She’s wearing yellow too. “Oh, you’re wearing yellow too!” I go, because nobody wears yellow at work except for me.
She looks almost coy, “Yeah, I never do, but then people tell me yellow looks really nice whenever I wear this one yellow dress that I have. You know I just automatically reach out to black mostly. Do you wear yellow often?”
“At least once a week,” I smile, “It’s my way of dealing with this weather.” By this weather, I mean the dark and damp weather that Basel experiences from November to March.
“Yes it’s true. But it looks like it will be a good summer this year. Just like last year.”
“I hope so. And unlike the year before that.”
“Was it bad then?”
“Horrible. My parents were over to vacation in summer in Europe. Except that it wasn’t summer in Europe even till end of May.”
“Oh, sorry to hear that. This must have been 2012. I came here in 2013, and loved the lovely and bright summer.”
“No, I’m talking about 2013. It was not bright at all. It was chilly and rainy.”
“No, it must have been before summer…”
We look at each other blankly for a few seconds, each reminding ourselves this was supposed to be an easy conversation in passing, and a topic like weather suits such conversations very well exactly for its universality, ease of agreement and quickness.
And here we are, not able to take this normal conversation forward, that I’m sure the coffee machine can by now repeat by heart, having heard it hundred times a day every day.
“I came in April from England, and it was just warm and lovely, wasn’t it?” she ventures.
“Well it got warm, but only by July, even Au… Ah, of course, I get it. You see, I was coming from India, and the summer seemed like a cold dark time, and you were coming from England..”
“Yeah, and I thought Halleluiah! Summertime! Yeah, of course, that’s it”
“There you go, we’re both right.”
As I sipped my tea, I couldn’t help wondering… We were both saying something absolutely opposite about something as basic and factual as weather, and we were both right. How often must this be happening with situations with higher stakes, wherein people will either dismiss the other’s viewpoint, let it pass to avoid conflict, or simply varnish it over saying, “thanks for expressing your point of view” without getting to the truth underlying a perception.
In a high stake situation, whose opinion would be upheld? How would each party feel about the outcome? What would they feel about each other?
How often do we actually try to dig into why someone is saying something completely different from what is so apparent to us?
Do we politely nod at differences of opinion as an inevitable result of diversity? Or do we look closely at each with the belief that they carry a part of the truth?

That’s the yellow pullover by the way. The black and white gentleman was so enamoured with this spot of colour, he held my hand and wouldn’t let it go!
That’s the yellow pullover by the way. The black and white gentleman was so enamoured with this spot of colour, he held my hand and wouldn’t let it go!

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