It’s only recently that I started mentioning my synaesthesia to people. IRL people I mean. To be honest, most people thing I’m a bit weird anyway, so I don’t know why it was so difficult for them to grasp. I guess for non-synaesthetes it’s a pretty hard thing to imagine.
And one of the hardest things is explaining why something is the colour that it is.
I started small. One of my housemates asked a medical related question (this is the housemate formerly known as bitch - we’re getting on better at the moment having not seen each other for 2 months) - what way the leg rotates when the hip is fractured.
If the hip is fractured the leg rotates laterally. If it is dislocated, it rotates medially.
F and L (fracture and lateral) are both orange to me, so I can remember this one with no problem. And I just remember that dislocations are the opposite. Anyway, I explained my way of remembering this to her, and she just sort of brushed it away with “yeah, I don’t think I’ll use that one” and utilised another housemate’s method of remembering. Which to be fair makes sense.
Anyway, I was a little bit dampened by this experience, but decided to try again a couple of weeks later. I was in the park on the first sunny day of the year (mid June, oh England…) and decided to mention it again. One housemate said something about the weird way my brain worked and I mentioned synaesthesia, and mentioned the fact that a few days previously I had smelled a yellow triangle as I was falling asleep.
They both burst into peals of laughter (not the expected response I have to say), and when they calmed down one of them managed to ask:
“So, what does a yellow triangle smell like?”
When I smelt the yellow triangle I’d been falling asleep, and didn’t recognise the smell. I couldn’t pin it to anything.
And I had no idea how to explain what it smelt like beyond
“Well, it smelled like a yellow triangle…”
It’s just as hard for my brain to understand how you couldn’t know what a yellow triangle smells like as it is for you to understand how my brain could (10 points if that sentence made sense). I can remember that smell now just as easily as I can imagine the smell of an orange or dustbins on a hot day, the smell isn’t there, really, but you can still perceive it. And how can you not get the sharpness of the triangle and the infinite yellowness of it?
Yellow smells like yellow as much as an orange smells like an orange. And that’s all there is to it.