Introducing my Super Power: Tetrachromacy
I think I may have mentioned, last week, that I had something I was going to tell you about. A 'top secret' type of thingy which I wasn't allowed to go public with until I got the green light. As of yesterday, Green Light granted. Go.
At the beginning of December, I had a Japanese film crew here filming me for a popular show in Japan called, 'Science Mystery'. Most who know me well responded to that sentence with a non-plussed, "Of course you did" . The show is comprised of 2 segments, each 20 minutes long featuring people with genetic oddities. This is where I come in.
I suppose that if I were to pick a super power, invisibility would be pretty cool, as I like to investigate things in an undetected way - just for my own personal knowledge. Flying would be out as I'm a major acrophobe and I'd only probably fly a foot off of the floor and that's really more like hovering. So that'd be a waste. X-ray vision? mmmmmmm.nah. I'm not that curious. Besides, I prefer to see most folk with their clothes on. But what if I could see in a way that 98% of women can't and no man can see? A way that is more beautiful, more multi-dimensional....more colorful--100 million times more colorful. Or as one of my dear, more experimental friends said, 'Like you're on an acid trip'. ok, that sounds scary...but it's along the same lines as what I've been experiencing my whole life.
From the time I was really small. I knew that I saw color in a way that most people didn't. When I was five or so, I can remember asking my parents to paint my room 'Green'. When the painter finished his job, it was all wrong. Yes it was,'Green' but there were colors, that I couldn't explain for lack of vocabulary, within the Green that were making it all wrong. In my giant box of 120 crayons with the sharpener in back, I couldn't stand that whatever genius laid out the colors had them wrong by shade. Although subtle, the blues to greens and the pink to peaches were all wrong in sequence.
Eventually I reasoned with myself that everyone must see color differently. We're all just calling it by the same name. And so life went on, and I'd get funny looks when describing color to people- The color of an Autumn sky filled with so much pink it practically vibrates. Whites that had too much Black and felt cold. Blacks filled with brown and bits of yellow, too simple - Blacks should be more complex. Crazy? Ya, I sort of tucked that thought away too. I, obviously, was beyond obsessed with color. It came before shape or form, always at the forefront of anything I saw.
Last Spring, I was listening to a podcast while doing some desk work. The podcast, a science show called, Radio Lab was discussing a genetic oddity, which was so rare, that it was thought that only 2% of people (women only) have it. It's an oddity that is the result of a gene mutation. A gene mutation that gives the person with it, 'SUPER COLOR VISION'. yep. Super. Color. Vision. My god. The more I listened, the more I started nodding. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The interviews with women who had this super power sounded just like my own experiences. Due to having an extra color cone receptor in their eyes, they were seeing over 100 million colors. The average person only sees about a million colors.
This condition, a mutation, has a name to it: TETRACHROMACY. I'm not going to go into the technical stuff here, but I'll give you links at the end if you're curious.
So, I contacted the Neuroscientist who specializes in Tetrachromacy, I was then tested (spitting into a vile and sending off to the lab at University of Washington in Seattle), FujiTV found out about it, wanted to do a show on it, came here, to L.A., from Japan to film me and then flew me up to Seattle for more filming. The show is going to be aired on January 19th. But you have to live in Japan to see it, I think. They'll be sending me a dvd of it later in the month. Maybe I can figure out how to get it uploaded to Vimeo, so I can share it with you.
In the mean time, I'm thinking we'll have a Super Powers screening at my house. Everyone can wear capes, ride in on Unicorns, drink saki and I'll hand out glasses with projecting eyeballs on springs.
Oh, and if any of you big paint companies want to talk to me about helping you out in some capacity ... let me know. I can provide you the edge over your competitors, developing colors you didn't even know existed. Shazam!
** there is an unofficial test you can take on line if you're interested. Go here to take it.
(To know if you truly have the gene mutation that causes Tetrachromacy, you have to have your DNA tested. )
You can listen to the Radio Lab show on Tetrachromacy, that I first heard here (at about 10:20 it gets really interesting) :