Saturday, November 18, 2006

Synesthesia and such things

The older I get the more I realize what oddities there are among people. I’d heard the word synesthesia for many years before I realized it also applied to the way I function. Spelling bees were not a problem for me because I heard the word before I was asked to spell it. But sometimes at work I ask for someone’s name and they spell it.

When the word is spelled first and/or not said I have trouble alphabetizing it. I hear the letters in a different form and have to write them down before I can get it together. The word as spoken comes to me in different form than when it’s spelled. My brain will easily go from the word to the letters, but translation the other way, while not impossible, is more difficult.

Being odd is not a problem. Expecting everyone to be similar is.

I try to be particular in my questions. I ask for the last name rather than the room number, because people know their last name more often than what room they were in last night. I ask for the spelling only if I can’t find the name, but not until after I’ve heard the name. After I’ve heard the name spelling it sometimes works, but there are days that I’ve got to write down the spelling before I can find the word as someone keeps on spelling their name rather than pronouncing it.

My suspicion is that if I had experiences like one of my friends who doesn’t see I’d be even more frustrated. She’s stood on a corner trying to figure out what she wants to do and had people drop coins in her coffee or grab her arm to help her across the street. That would cause me to say some words that I don’t normally say. It’s easier, or so I suspect, to deal with people who don’t answer the actual question asked rather than those who invade one’s person space. It doesn’t matter that they’re trying to help. If what is being done is not what was asked for it remains less than helpful and sometimes offensive.

Having differences is not a problem, having to act as if those differences don’t exist or being forced to accept the help the other wants to give is a problem.

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