Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Feeling of Words

Like most establishments, Goodwill Thrift Stores play music over its loudspeakers to keep its shoppers happy and boppin' down the aisles, looking for vintage textiles, retro styles, and ankle weights and garden sprinklers (okay, maybe that last one is just me). My estranged husband and I were there browsing (you can't go in a place like that and not look at a bit of everything). We were both enjoying the music (and indeed, he was whistling along, something I can't do) but long after it had been played, we still couldn't remember who sang, "Take on Me". The only thing that kept coming back to me was "Wham!" but I knew that was wrong, even if it "felt" right.

I liken this phenomenon, this feeling of words that are similar in meaning or action, to synesthesia, which is "a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway", according to Wikipedia. Some synesthites taste various flavors when hearing certain sounds. Others see words as having different colors and shapes. I can't always describe the almost physical sensation I get when something like this happens (it happens a lot) but I use the "ability" for lots of things. To visualize in my mind the size or weight of something...some words just weigh heavier and look bigger than others. Or appear more bold or dainty. I can often also recall words that won't come to me because a particular letter will stand out; if I'm with someone and we're both in this predicament (like trying to remember who sang "Take on Me"), I'll let them know clues I'm getting. "I see a prominent R", because I will, almost as sure as if it had stepped forward from a line-up, put its knuckles on its hips, puffed out its chest and announced, "I am Here." And often, the word will put itself together that way until I can see it and exclaim, "a-ha!", as I did when I called my estranged husband this morning. No, really..."a-ha" is the name of the band who sand the song "Take on Me". If I say "Wham!" and "a-ha" even now, I get the strong sense of the short burst of power behind it more than I do the word, which is what I was experiencing yesterday.

Photobucket've told people for years that I'm wired funny. Add this phenomenon to the physical body of someone who is a supertaster, someone who refuses to let most foods mix because the flavors (or colors, textures, etc.) simply aren't compatible. Sweet AND sour together? *retch* And when you offer me your "little bit spicy" hotsauce, don't be surprised when I turn it down as the fire-starter that it is for me. When everything I experience is rolled into a ball and displayed, it amounts to creating a fairly flaky individual, eccentric, exact in her tastes and dislikes, with a goofy, exuberant enthusiasm for her pet causes. Because I am compelled not only by words, but by the sensations these words present, I'm more likely to see the deeper meaning in things. Music just might be bigger to least certain types. I hear the most blissful piece of music ever performed, in my opinion, "Oraanu Pi" by E.S. Posthumus, and see and feel and can almost touch the flights of fancy, glimmers of light and flashes of glitter, swimming around and dive-bombing me. This is just an peek into my world, how I see the living of reality will vary so differently than yours that, by now, you're probably shaking your head and thinking, "What a fruitcake".

Is synesthesia present in everyone, but laten in most, unfortunately? I say unfortunately because once I embraced and decided to actually see these bouncing letters, beams of dancing, colored lights, and weighted words, my life bloomed like a tropical garden, full and lush and alive with scent, movement, color, light...Life. Ya know, I don't think five or six senses are enough. Grow your own if you can. I did.

Is it just a coincidence that "Take on Me" brings a character caught in a 2D world to life in our dimension? Eh...I'm not going to make the connection. Just shut up and enjoy the videos.

Ah Ha - Take On Me

And, for future reference, will you guys please remember that, when my time comes, I want my ashes to be scattered somewhere around Mt. Baker while "Oraanu Pi" is playing. Loudly. And blissfully. Namaste'.

1 comment:

As The Wind Blows said...

What a lovely post! Summer has caught me by a storm...literally! We've moved from an apartment to a house with a yard! O! I have missed a yard!!!! And a new part time job at Summit Home Center (Hardware). I LOVE it because of the garden center and isn't is a wonderful world...their garden person retired the week I shall be another grand adventure.

I love the flow of words. School does limit our learning ability as a child, laten in all of it is there.

Sprinkles of fairy dust and a big hug,