Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Peculiar Proclivities

I think I might be an eye racist. Or an eye sexist. Or an eye bigot.

See, I have this odd inclination, whenever I am in a public place, to make a mental catalog (sometimes it's worse. Sometimes I jot down an ACTUAL, PHYSICAL catalog!) of the eye colors of the people I encounter. Once inventory is taken on all people within eye-shot, I compare the numbers of eye colors to create ratios for the room. ie. The ratio of browns to blues in McDonald's just now (I WISH I were making this up), is 5:8, thanks in large part to the Aryan-looking family of five sitting kitty-corner to me.

Though I definitely lump people together by it, I'm not sure as I could be called an eye biggot per se. I don't have a preference for color, really, though I do feel rather accomplished when I find a more rare "green" in the mix. (Jane Elliot would have a field day with me. Seriously). And I don't count colors for some noble "window to the soul" reason either.

Nope. Nuthin' noble here folks. Keep movin'. Nuthin to see.

I honestly think I'm just fascinated by the genetic likelihood of certain eye colors to appear. (I'm really, really bad about this with families. You have a parent with blue eyes and a parent with brown? I could fixate on what color an offspring is likely to have for hours.)

Genetics - specifically the outward manifestation of recessive genes - was the only aspect of high school biology that even remotely caught my interest. That my class was taught by a wrestling coach who, when attempts to euthanize the frogs at WHS resulted in a sit-in, resolved to host a "Frog Olympics," might have had something to do with it. But I cannot entirely blame Coach Krug.

In general, I do not boast an overly developed, keen interest in the workings of the natural world. I don't care how atoms move or how plants use photosynthesis. It could all be magic and faery dust so far as I'm concerned (it totally is in my head anyway). Just so long as whatever it is keeps working, I could really care less about how it do what it do.

But recessive genes - the "if you have a white bunny rabbit with red eyes and a black bunny rabbit with black eyes and they have 6 kids, what are the odds of their offspring including a white haired, black eyed rabbit" - Suddenly I am sitting up straight in my chair!

WHY does this fascinate me so? And why is it just eye color?

Hair color? Skin color? Straight vs. curly? Tall vs. short? YAWN. All that stuff is magic and faery dust and who cares so long as everybody's got some of one and some of the other. But eye color!?!? STOP THE PRESSES! NOW you have my attention!

Last week, I had lunch with a long-time friend and her 2 year old son. Leslie has blue eyes. Her husband? Has brown. While both brown and blue are dominant genes, between the two, brown is MORE dominant than blue...at least according to grain-of-salt pseudo science that I've read. Based on this "science," Leslie's offspring are more likely to have brown eyes than blue. But her son has blue eyes!

I found this so fascinating over lunch that I literally had difficulty paying attention to the conversation. (Sorry Leslie. You truly are riveting. And I promise we will get together and watch the Jodi Arias Lifetime masterpiece soon!)

I've done it with my own family, which I find falls somewhere in the "Superior" category of interesting as half of my kin - including myself - boast green eyes. A whole 'nother factor in the equation!

I've analysed the families of close relatives, of friends, and now the interest has extended to strangers. And perhaps this analysis is not so unique. Perhaps many people do this. (I don't know of any, but I'd like to give myself some credit before I let me freak flag fly.)

In an attempt to delve into the very recesses of my green-eyed brain (know how green eyes came to be associated with envy? I do. I looked it up. Before today.), I fear I have descended into crazy crevices from which there is no escape. I fear that, no matter how many italicized words I use to drive home my point, the fact remains that I stand alone in my passtime of eye color cataloging. I renounce forever the fantasy that one day, while pondering the blue to green ratios of the local Starbucks, that a kindred spirit will see me in my quest, recognize the mania, and ask if she and her cinnamon dolce latte can sit and join me in my macular festivities.


It will never be.



Finished with my sammiches and therefore devoid of food distractions, I look up from my McD's cup to search the face of the girl in the corner once more. She has a t-shirt, boy shorts and a mohawk. She catches me looking at her! Aha! Got it! Tally her down with the blue eye crew! Boy am I proud of myself! Guess that makes the ratio 5:9...

Oh wait...did she think I was looking at her because she had a mohawk? Does she think I'm one of those crazy people who stares at anyone "different"? Maybe I should tell her I have no "issues" with her alternative appearance - that I was merely cataloging her eye color from across the room for a completely harmless, non-scientific, spontaneous tally I keep. Maybe then I could get close enough to her to really make sure her eyes are blue and not green. Maybe...

Oh G-d. This peculiar proclivity will get me sent to prison. I just know it.