Gary Rinsem

What Color Is Red
by Gary Rinsem
November 20, 1982

Ask a person their name
and they tell you their name
Then ask who they are
and they tell you their name
Often they're being honest
Their name is who they are

"What color is red" is code for a specific concept. It addresses awareness.

(Below is a small part of chapter one of the book "What Color Is Red." The concept was borrowed and applied here in the abstract, but it was first put into a love letter to BB, describing the manner in which Bev and I first came to know each other. The book was intended to begin by boring the reader. This part did a fine job of that task.)

The story begins in a park with two people sharing chicken from a bucket. They spent some time talking and neither is stimulated by the other. Both are so bored that choking on a chicken bone would be a welcome change. They each had something more complicated in mind when the woman asked a simple question. The woman only needed to know if she could trust the man to help with a plan she was brewing. The man needed to know what was going on in the woman's head, to know he was talking to the deepest version of the woman. This is the intimacy he was trying to find. The woman had recently found it with someone else so it wasn't her immediate focus.

They both needed the certainty that important people in their lives were not giving stock answers to misunderstood questions. They needed to know the immediate thoughts in the other person's mind and to be certain at all times that this was what they were hearing. They felt it was something they seldom got and both of them had spent considerable effort trying to understand this intimacy. No walls, no inhibitions, open communication at all times including the certainty of that reality. They wanted and needed to have someone they could spend their lives with and never doubt the intimacy of the communications or their love.

Beverly "How do you get to know WHO a person is?"

[ translation: I'm unbelievably bored with you and I think your mind died years ago, I hope you can prove me wrong. Let me get to know you well enough that I can tell you my plan. I need your help but it's too personal for me to tell you about it before I know you. ]

Gary "What color is red?"

[ translation: You get to know a person by first finding out if they're awake. Is there enough spark left in your mind to actually think about what I just said? Do you have the mental ability to interpret my intent? I know it's close to your hand but please don't point at the red part of the chicken bucket. I already know your hands work, now I want to know that you're thinking. I worded that question in a specific way to help me determine if I have your attention. Whatever your reply I will try to interpret what caused you to speak the words, to help me figure out if the cause is called thinking. I don't want to spend weeks tearing down your walls just to fail and give up later. I've gone through that routine many times and I don't ever want to do it again. ]

Beverly (chuckling) "What color is red? That's a strange answer and a strange question too. What did you mean by that?"

[ translation: Are you nuts? I'd understand if you asked WHICH color is red. It would still be an odd thing to ask but at least I could point to something red. Wait a minute, he's boring but I don't think he's stupid. Why did he ask that? There must be a reason. Was there something I should have thought about? Was there a meaning for me to interpret? He was testing me to see if I would think about it or just point at something red. My answer told him I didn't understand. I only thought about it enough to avoid pointing at something red. He still doesn't know my mind is awake and I'm actually thinking. Hmm, I wasn't awake and he knew it. I was only thinking about my problem, not about him. Our lack of communication has been my fault. I can fix it now that I'm awake. ]

Gary "You asked a question that can't be answered easily. I replied with a question that I hoped would start a slightly different discussion, related but different. I asked it to settle a question which has been on my mind since we met."

[ translation: You didn't understand but I'll give you a second chance since you didn't point at something red. Prove to me that you're awake so I'll know we're communicating. We'll each know we have the attention of the other person's MIND. ]

Beverly "I understand now. Your response told me you were thinking but only if I thought about it. If I didn't think about it then my reply would tell you my brain is dead. You told me you're awake and gave me the chance to prove to you that I am also awake. "What color is red" has nothing to do with it. You could have worded any question in a way where the reply would tell you if the other person is thinking about you and what you said."

[ translation: A horn dog who thinks when he talks, this is rare. I haven't seen a single sign of anything sexual so maybe he's not a horn dog. That would be sad and I'd be wasting my time. ]

Gary "I got lucky this time. Most people can't seem to interpret the intent of another person's mind. Their answer would be similar to your initial response or they would just point at something red."

[ translation: Starting off with "I got lucky" should be enough to tell you I'm a horn dog. Maybe this day won't be a total loss after all. ]

Beverly "I asked how to get to know WHO a person is, well, because I've tried to get to know a lot of people lately. None of them seemed capable of even discussing it. They all had trouble opening up and being honest. It's as if they aren't really there. They just respond to outside stimulation with programmed replies. They don't involve their mind in a discussion."

[ translation: Ha! I knew you were a horn dog! I'm not wasting my time but you still didn't get lucky, not yet. Now at least we're on the right path since none of those other horn dogs could even begin talking to me. ]

Gary "Is it about walls?"

Beverly "Didn't we already establish communication? You can stop using obscure questions to see if I'm thinking."

Gary "I meant walls in their mind. They put up walls to hide behind so even if they know and understand what you're looking for, they still can't climb the wall or break it down to let you know them."

Beverly "I should have thought about walls before I assumed you were still testing me."

Gary "It was a good mistake. Things like that keep people communicating instead of going into dead mind mode."

Beverly (smiling) "That's it, dead mind mode. They don't really think about anything."

Gary "I guess we see the same things from people. If you try to discuss even that problem with them they get confused because they don't have any programed answers to give. So you go back to who they are but they're still confused since they never thought about who they are. It appears as though they never think for themselves. The only thing they've ever been told is their name so that's their identity. Even if they have their own identity and they're aware of it, then they must not be able to talk from behind their walls."

Beverly "Exactly. Even after they already told you their name, and they know that you remember their name, they still think you're asking their name when you clearly asked them about WHO they are. You know they're not thinking, it couldn't be any more obvious. Even after you explain that you weren't looking for a name they still can't talk about who they are. The best that most people can do is tell you about their life. I didn't ask about their job or where they were born. Even after hours of talking to them they still can't understand. I can't make them understand that I want to know them, how they perceive themselves, their identity, their deepest desires and their impressions of life itself. If you come right out and explain it that way, well then you get what they think you want to hear and nothing more. You have to keep explaining everything you want to hear and basically they're just repeating what you told them to say. In this case you banged me on the head to see if I was thinking. It started a conversation that required thought from both of us. I'll have to remember 'what color is red', it worked this time."

Gary "We're going to be close friends. I like being able to talk with a woman and know we're both getting something out of it."

[ translation: I'm easy, this tiny bit of actual communication was a rare treat and more than enough for me. Foreplay is over, you approached me and I'm certain you had something in mind so it's time to tell me what you want. ]

Beverly "Friends? I think so, maybe already. Let's find someplace comfortable to talk. I have a million questions and a very important proposition."

[ translation: I said "proposition" to tell you that I now know for certain you're a horn dog and it's the reason I approached you in the first place. But keep working at it, foreplay aint over yet. ]

Gary "Propositions already?"

[ translation: Don't ever doubt I'm a horn dog and be sure to keep an eye on me, you've been claimed and I might mark my territory when you least expect it. ]

Beverly "Maybe but don't get too excited yet, first we need to talk some more."

[ translation: Daaaaam, just set your little horn dog parking brake but keep the motor running, it's going to be when I'm ready. I've got a plan and I won't let you mess it up. ]