Thursday, March 26, 2009


As promised: I certainly don't experience synesthaesia the way Daniel Tammet does, but I think I have traces of it. Examples:

When I was a child, I saw numbers as though they were arranged like a deck of cards extending infinitely into space. The positive numbers ascended slightly while the negative numbers descended. In other words, try to picture a number line where instead of a line with dots, you have numbers written on cards, the cards overlap, and they are on a continuous, infinite incline. The cards were transparent, I couldn't really see the card, just the numbers, which, by the way, were all transparent black. To add, I had to mentally move up the line, and the number that was the answer would be larger, bigger, sort of like a card pulled up out of a deck or from a hand of cards. The multiples of ten were bigger. When I counted aloud, my voice would build in expectation every time I neared a multiple of ten, like kids do when they're playing hide and seek and are nearing the count of twenty, only for me, it was every multiple of ten, not just twenty.

Time to me is a circle graph. Each year is a circle, and it is joined to the year before it on January first, so that all the years together are like a continuous spiral extending back to the time when I was born, at which point the spiral tapers down and becomes tiny before it vanishes. The end of it, where I will die, will be torn off roughly rather than tapering smoothly as the beginning did. Each circle or year progresses in a counter clockwise fashion. The seasons are deliniated by an X. The top quarter is winter, composed of December, January, and February. The left quarter is spring: March, April, and May. The bottom quarter is summer; June, July, August, while the right hand quarter is fall; September, October, November. Holidays and birthdays flash like little lights in the months as I visualize them. The spiral is compressed most of the time, except when I am thinking of a time or trying to remember when some event happened. Then the spiral stretches out and I work back progressively until I find the circle I need.

Time as in daily time is also a circle graph, but not what you might expect. I will have to draw it and post an image of it here for it to make sense. All 24 hours are in one circle, and they aren't evenly divided. This may be why I allocate time differently than other people. Some parts of the day feel much longer and more expansive to me than others even though I know that they are really all the same length.

I sometimes visualize scent.

And textures often have sounds to me, especially squeaky, disagreeable sounds. For example, cotton balls, frosted glass, and certain fabrics all feel horrible and sound excruciating to me.

In order to do math, I more or less have to visualize the numbers moving around, and I think this is why I have so much trouble with algebra, especially if I don't understand *why* the numbers are moving or when they can or can't move.

Drifting off the topic of synesthaesia now, certain sensory experiences are simply heavenly to me. Smelling a certain scent, seeing a certain shade of a color, feeling the wind blow against my face, hair, or body, the sound of the wind. I love wind. And I can't explain it at all, but the people who smell the best to me, smell like wind feels or looks.

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