Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not Really A Gift

You ever think that something sounds fascinating, but learn from someone intimately involved with whatever it is that it's not? Apparently this is how synesthesia is to people who don't have it, at least based on how it's come up yet again and people seem to think it's "cool." I have it, and I'd rather not.

Okay, so you don't know what I'm talking about. Synesthesia is a non-harmful neurological condition that results in a person experiencing stimuli with two senses instead of one. It takes several different forms, and most people (synesthetes) only have one kind. I can't prove it, but I assume people who talk about having lots of different kinds are lying and don't understand how it works. Anyway, I see sound.

Yep. I literally can see some sounds as flashes of color. Fortunately the vast majority of sounds don't have anything visible about them - to me, that is. there are two types of sound-color synesthesia and the other kind involves music - because I think that would make a person go insane. But some sounds do, usually sudden ones. The motor of a refrigerator kicking on is bright white. Motorcycles make a purple noise. Sharp sounds like wood breaking are a kind of gray. And things flung against glass (gravel tossed by a fish, for example) are black and white like snow on a TV without reception. I've seen yellow and blue sounds a couple of times too, though I didn't identify what made those noises. And something I hear pretty often is red and I can't pin-point it even though it's strong enough to see with my eyes open.

Does that sound like fun? I don't know, maybe it does sound fun to you. Well, here's where the dislike comes in: as I implied above, you can't escape it by closing your eyes. In fact, the colors are a lot easier to see with your eyes closed. And when do we most often have our eyes closed while awake? When we're trying to sleep. Motorcycle week and my fish getting restless lead to me not sleeping well because I can't stop seeing startling flashes of color. I've never been a solid sleeper anyway, so this definitely isn't helpful.

So next time you hear someone say that they love having synesthesia and wouldn't part with it for anything, don't forget that some of us would give it away.

"This is a nightmare/I want to date you/You get right under my skin" - IO Echo, Doorway

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