Leave it to me to be inspired by a Cracked article about how certain mental conditions could potentially get a guy laid (hey Cracked, when are you going to start helping ladies to get laid? Just sayin).
Nabokov had it. Tori Amos has it. Yours truly has it, though she’s not nearly as awesome as the other two people mentioned here.
Seasons, months, numbers, days of the week, letters of the alphabet, symbols, mathematical equations – they all have different colours, styles, and attitudes. 11, for example, is very pretty and cold, and a jerk, but also honest somehow. And if you ask me to explain, I can’t. 11 is a complicated number, and we have a complicated relationship, is all. It’s as if all of these things are tarot cards, and I am forever reading them, arranging and rearranging them in my head.
Wednesday is cherry-coloured. Saturday has the sweet, grainy texture of Palestinian knafeh. E = mc2 is like a green scarf unfurling on the wind. The letter A is very forthright, the letter B is like an old relative, and don’t even get me started on the Cyrillic alphabet. These are not even exhaustive definitions, by far. They can go on forever.
It’s a pretty way to think and feel, but it can also get a bit crowded in my head. I think it’s why I like to turn off so much, just stop inhabiting myself for a while. I think it’s why I have such a temper too. The circuits overload.
It is said that synesthesia is associated with high levels of creativity. I certainly believe that. But there is a certain form of discipline that must come when you’re angling for genuine creative output, and sometimes, marshaling these numbers and letters can be tough. They make the margins of things crowded and fuzzy, and they can be distracting. For me, it’s why trips to so-called places of power are necessary. My head is cleared from the flotsam and jetsam when I’m up at the Glastonbury Tor or St. Cyrill’s church in Kiev.
I realized recently that I don’t have a place of power to go to in Amman. The closes I’ve gotten is my friend’s house, up on a hill, looking out toward Israel & Palestine. But I’m rarely up there, so rarely, that mind continues on its merry way, spinning tragic love stories between upper-class 5 and sweetly naive 9, for example. And then I wonder why Amman is even harder on me than it should be.
What is a place of power? I’m not sure. I think it’s something that bends time and space, or at least perception, a little bit. Where the atmosphere begins speaking to you, and it’s like tuning into a whole other wavelength, where everything becomes clear and clean, or as clear and clean as it can be, and a very strong current fizzes along and washes the insides of your mind and the cracks are patched up for a time being by invisible hands. It’s not necessarily a place of worship, but it’s beautiful, harshly or otherwise. You’ll laugh, but the freaking Mall of the Emirates was that for me in Dubai (and who knows? You can argue that malls are their own places of worship).
I don’t know if I didn’t look hard enough in Amman. Or maybe Amman is just a different place altogether, somewhere where my mind can never really come to rest. All I know is that the synesthesia overwhelms me there. Instead of a quirky gift, it becomes a weight I drag around with myself, along with all of the other weights. It becomes meaner too. 11’s jerky tendencies become downright cruel, for example. Saturday is so sweet that it turns into a sugar coma. Sundays become bottomless and desperate, like an enormous bat-cave.
So if you ever run into me in Amman, give me a number of a letter or a vague concept, and who knows what story might emerge?