The Scoop on My Synesthesia, Part Two
Oh. My. Goodness. I did NOT expect my post to become so popular.
Well, Sparklers, I had written that last post so that I wouldn't have to explain things at school- I could just direct them to the blog. Instead, I find myself being asked to do a follow up! Wow. Just, just wow. I love you people. You're all so supportive!
I'm going to answer some common questions that you guys have commented on the original post, and that come up when I tell people about it during camps, youth groups, and small group activities, okay? You can post some more questions that you want, and if I get enough, I'll do a third part (If you want me to, that is).
Question: Do different accents effect tastes? Do different languages?
This is one of my all time favorite questions to answer! Alright. How many people have heard of- or worship- David Tennant? If you've never heard him talk, go! Go right now to youtube and look up some interviews. Don't worry, we'll wait.
Okay, good! Did you HEAR that scottish accent, guys? I love that scottish accent. I've experimented with many different people with scottish accents (Women, children, men), and I've discovered that the one taste that all of them have in common is one that I really shouldn't know about, since I'm underage.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Sparklers everywhere, Scottish accents taste like whiskey and cinnamon. Seems pretty fitting, I think. I've traced the whiskey taste back to when I was a little kid, and I sneakily took a sip out of my dad's cup. Didn't taste too good, but now I actually enjoy it. I can't get drunk off of it, though, so don't worry.
Okay, I've lost people at this next part, so bear with me. So you've got David Tennant's voice, right? It has two components; the scottish accent, and the pitches and patterns of David's voice itself. The two tastes mix together and create a taste that, to me, is David Tennant's voice- Whiskey, cinnamon, and orange peel. The words that come out of his mouth add a tinge of that taste, but mostly those are the main tastes when I listen to him talk. When I hear him talk on Doctor Who, where he has a british accent, it's a mix of british accent and David Tennant. Caramel and orange peel.
Different languages, now. I don't understand any other languages besides French and English (Hello, French 1!!), so my brain treats other languages like it treats music. It's not really a matter of it being a language, something that can be translated into words, it's a matter of it being a bunch of different sounds, and the main part of my Synesthesia is that I taste sounds, not just words.
You see, Sparklers, words are composed of sounds, and so those sounds make up the taste that I taste when I hear the word. However, if someone said any word at all in an incredibly high pitch, like a squeak, I would get a big coppery smack in the face with maybe a bit of the word's original taste. The pitch of a person's voice can have a lot of difference as to the taste of the word.
When I hear someone talking in a different language that I don't know, all my brain turns into tastes is the pitches and sounds. It doesn't matter that it is a form of language. However, I did listen to some tapes of different languages, and I can tell you that the basic male voice speaking German tastes like blueberry pancakes, a lower pitched male voice speaking Russian tastes like parsley, and a female voice speaking French tastes like chocolate croissants.
Question: What happens if there's a crowd, or you're at a sporting event?
Story time, Sparklers!
On the Wednesday of last week, I had gym class. The girls in my PE class get very worked up about sports, and so they yell a lot (Keep in mind that I do not like yelling. It takes the taste of someone's voice, freezer burns it, then leaves it out in the sun for 50 days. Moldy, rotten, and gross). Normally, not too much of a problem- since I've been living with Synesthesia for as long as I can remember, I'm really very good at tuning out people's voices when need be.
However, that Wednesday was different. That day, all my senses were on hyperdrive, because.......
(I will allow any squeamish boys with no sisters to leave at this point. You can come back later, ya sissies.)
My period was about to begin, and for me, that means no tuning anything out, and everything had to be louder than usual.
Thank you, Mother Nature.
So we were playing kickball, and everyone was yelling, screaming even, and I was in the back trying to ignore it all. It wasn't too absolutely horrid, since the gym was so big and I was in the farthest corner, but then we had to go into the tiny locker room, while everyone was still worked up and yelling, and I couldn't back out because my school has uniforms.
Guys, I thought for sure that I was going to vomit. In case you've never accidentally had it, freezerburned stuff just doesn't taste good, and if you add moldy and gross to the mix, along with all the different flavors I was getting- Watermelon, Hibiscus flower, strawberry, lime, and ketchup, to name a few- I was seriously dry-heaving.
Nobody would shut up. The problem with being in a situation like that without flavored gum to drown it out is that if I haven't eaten, and if nobody shuts up, then my body continues to want to puke, even if there is nothing to regurgitate. If I can't get the taste off my tounge, then I'll hack and hack until eventually, my stomache just...comes out (Can that happen?!). Luckily, I got somebody's attention, and they had some pretty strong mint gum that I used to get the flavors out, and everyone finally quieted down when they realized that "HELLO, ALCIE IS ON THE VERGE OF VOMITING HERE BECAUSE WE'RE TOO LOUD. HUSH YOUR FACES."
I tend to avoid crowds, mostly. Concerts and sporting events aren't really my favorite things to go to, since everyone's screaming and shouting. When I have to, though, like for pep band (I will do absolutely ANYTHING for pep band), I'll brave a crowd without gum (Playing a tenor saxophone with gum in your mouth isn't the best idea. I know this from experience), but I often get irritable, and wear earplugs.
Of course, like everything that's different, my form of Synesthesia has its downsides. Sometimes people can be really mean about this sort of stuff, now that I'm on the subject. I can't hang around people who are too loud, which, at my age, basically means that I avoid everyone, but sometimes you just can't help but have to be near someone who is the opposite of who you need to be with.
Today in gym class, there was a girl who knows good and well of my condition. I've explained it to her countless times, she understands that I don't like loud noises because they taste bad, and loud high pitched noises are even worse, but for some reason, she really doesn't respect it. In the locker room, she continued to yell and shout and scream, and no matter how much I asked her to quiet her voice, she just continued. The last time that I asked her to stop, she goes, "What if I don't? What if I make my voice really high pitched- do you taste COPPER?!" And then she proceeded to screech as loudly and as high as she could go.
It actually physically hurt. I had never really heard noises that went that high, besides whistles during basketball games, but those noises where normally over before they could really do any damage. This girl drew it out as long as possible.
I want you to imagine this: Imagine a freezerburned, rotten, moldy hibiscus flower (It tastes sort of rasberry-ish) put on your tounge, followed by a handful of copper pennies, then cubes of dry ice put on your tounge.
That is what that pitch tasted like, and it hurt.
In some ways, what I have could be considered a disability, if people take advantage of it like that. She apologized afterwards, but I don't think she ever really fully understood how much physical pain it put me through. I just hope she doesn't do it again- She's really a very nice person to hang out with, but she does have her moments, like everyone else.
I think that's all I'm going to put for now- Those are the two most asked questions, and if you guys want, I can do another part answering some more and doing some usernames and actual names!
Oh, by the way. I was asked to put what these words taste like, I'll put them here:
Sparklife: Turkey and lettuce
Sparkler: Turkey stuffing
BAM: Strawberry pop rocks
Love you all! Thank you for your support!
Originally published on April 3, 2013.