Stop! You’re Hurting My Eyes!

By Lois Winston

One day when my oldest son was two years old, I was singing to him in the car when he covered his ears with his hands and cried, “Stop singing, Mommy. You’re hurting my ears.”

It turns out he was born with perfect pitch, while I was saddled with two tin ears. Ever since I failed to make the cut when I auditioned for the elementary school talent show, I’ve known my singing leaves quite a lot to be desired. I’m no Taylor Swift or Beyonce. Never was and never will be. I wouldn’t even qualify as a backup singer for a third-rate tribute band. However, I never realized until that moment just how off-key I was.

Lately, I’ve felt the urge to rant at car manufacturers for hurting my eyes the way my singing had hurt my son’s ears. Have you noticed the garish colors of so many new cars? Some are the equivalent of chalk on a blackboard, shrieking and shrill, while others can only be described as homages to the scatological. What were they thinking? We’re living in a world that bombards us 24/7, causing us to yearn for anything soothing, whether it’s soft clothing, comfort foods, or escapist fiction.

The psychology of color is big business. Color experts get paid big bucks to determine which colors should be used in everything from clothing to home décor to appliances to automobiles. If you’re old enough to remember the sixties (or have a penchant for anything mid-century modern), you know that harvest gold and avocado green were the two colors that reigned supreme back then. Do you think it was a coincidence that your mother’s appliances matched your father’s station wagon? Those color choices were dictated by people deemed authorities in the field.

Has psychology done an about-face? If the screaming oranges, greens, and yellows aren’t bad enough, the other group is awful in another way. I really don’t want to drive around in a vehicle that reminds me of the last time I changed a diaper or hovered over the porcelain throne with stomach flu.

I wish some knowledgeable person would tell me what in the world were these so-called experts thinking. I’m flummoxed.

How about you? What do you think about the colors of automobiles you see on the roads lately? Post a comment for a chance to win a promo code for a free download of the audiobook version of Drop Dead Ornaments, the seventh Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery.



USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Learn more about Lois and her books at her website where you can also sign up for her newsletter and follow her on various social media sites.

17 replies
  1. carolk
    carolk says:

    Those cars are so shiny they remind me of Hot Wheels. I haven’t seen any like that around here but I will be on the lookout. I feel for you about the singing. I learned very early to just mouth the words in music class and church.

  2. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    I have to laugh. When I used to sing in the car, my son would cover his ears and shriek, “Don’t sing!” I’d forgotten all about that until I read your post.

  3. George Cramer
    George Cramer says:

    Funny, I was stuck in traffic a few days ago and got to thinking about the cars in the 1960s. Each make was distinct; each model year was different, with colors distinct and robust. The cars around me all looked similar in design and challenging to discern the make. If the colors were a shade of white or gray, they were, as you say, garish and hurt the eye.

  4. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Lois, could it be that people are trying to stand out more? Automobile manufacturers all have their own specialized paints for vehicles. I can’t help but think that one day upper management will say, “What numbskull thought of this?” Sorry about the pitch problem. What you do in the privacy of your shower is your business! So sing loud and enjoy!

  5. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    Our world seems to have become louder, and more garish lately. Nothing it too bright or too deafening. Makes me relish quiet, soothing times even more.

  6. Melinda Abraham
    Melinda Abraham says:

    I haven’t seen the bright flashy colors that you’ve been seeing. Instead, I’ve been flummoxed by the sea of uninteresting gray colored cars. It’s not even metallic gray. It’s sort of battleship gray in a medium shade. I can’t understand why anyone would think that they would be safe in a car that is difficult to distinguish from the asphalt, especially at night or in the rain.

    Apologies in advance to anyone on this string who owns a gray car.

    • Lois Winston
      Lois Winston says:

      Melinda, I’m sure those garish colors are headed your way. White, gray, silver, and black were the boring norm for so long, but there are plenty of colors to choose from that don’t fall into the garish and scatological categories. I have seen a few soothing blues and greens out there lately trying for a foothold and even a pale pink. I hope they catch on.

  7. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    I have a friend who purchased a lime green SUV so she could “find it easily in a parking lot.” Now she’s afraid to park it because it stands out so much, she’s afraid someone will steal it. She read an article that those new car colors are being stolen more frequently than those with traditional colors to be sold in other countries. If you wait long enough, Lois, all those screaming colored cars may end up in Mexico and beyond!!

  8. Susan Oleksiw
    Susan Oleksiw says:

    When we were car hunting some years ago, I asked the salesman about the colors, indicating I didn’t like what we were seeing. He replied, Those are for the young ones. The companies are still making cars with regular colors for older folks. Now everything I see is either white or black or some vibrating neon color that nearly blinds me. Good post.

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