Friday, January 2, 2009

synesthesia and the dewey decimal system

If you aren't aware that i'm off my rocker, you're about to find out. And I don't mean that I have horrible taste in movies or issues with socks and warm fruit, because EVERYBODY knows that.

This time, it's about numbers.

I have very specific feelings about numbers based on an amorphous classification system involving divisors, odd/even-ness, prime-ness, and the colors assigned to numbers by my synesthesia, which, if you are unaware, is a condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another.

See? Told you' i'm a nutter. I see letters, words, and numbers in/with specific colors.

So here we go. Let me tell you how I feel about numbers, because Dr. Crog finds it fascinating, especially as relates to the volume control in my vehicle. I hate to have the volume on an odd number. It really, really needs to be even, especially 8, 10, or 14. If it has to be odd, 11 and 7 are really the only allowable levels, but i'm still jittery and staring at the stereo like it's going to blow up while i'm driving. Naturally, he really likes to set the volume at 5 or 9 and see how long until I freak out.

0 - is clear and cold, like ice, and takes on the tint of what's around it. If I had to give it a color, it would be the lightest shade of translucent robin's egg blue. It's a fence-sitter. Very wishy-washy.
1 - is icey moss green, takes on the color of numbers around it. Too small to like, really. A sycophant of a number.
2 - is a warm orange, halfway between a lion and tiger. It's my favorite small number. Quite jaunty.
3 - is a cold, light green. It's okay, but not my favorite. A bit whiny.
4 - is a warmer, reddish orange. I like it, because it's 2+2 and 2x2. Very tidy and competent.
5 - is awful. It's a lovely ultramarine, which I should like, but as a number, it's all wrong. My least favorite small number. Somewhat sneaky and evil, like a Disney villain.
6 - is a warmish plum. Like a jolly, funny sidekick.
7 - is a nice kelly green. I like it well enough, for an odd number. It strongly colors other numbers around it. I like the prime-ness of it. It's a bit royal.
8 - is a brick red. A very solid number, very responsible.
9 - is chestnut brown, like a sorrel horse. Not bad for an odd number, as it's 3x3. It's amenable and jovial, again, like a pleasant horse that's happy to follow the lead.

After those first 10 numbers, I have random numbers that I like or dislike based on the color combinations, prime, odd, even, etc. My all time favorite number is 22. It's 2x11, and I like both those numbers. It has two 2's, which I enjoy. And it's just the loveliest tawny color, with a sheen like sunlight on a liger, not to get too Napoleon Dynamite for you. I don't like 31 or 76, or anything in the 50's, except 54. Barely. But only because it's 9x6 and has a tinge of plum by association.

The numbers have their colors and personalities, and when you start putting them together into phone numbers and social security numbers, it gets really complicated. If there are no repeating numbers and no color schemes, I flat out cannot remember a phone number, so thank goodness for cell phones.

Having felt this way about numbers and letters my entire life, what I find oddest is that the colors do not cover a wider range, nor do they reflect the colors I prefer in decorating or visual art. I mean, I dare you to find a tawny orange in my work, my home, or my wardrobe! There are no teals, mauves, or yellows in the numbers. Not a single yellow. The alphabet has a much wider spread, but the colors are still so randomly assigned as to be laughable. And the fact that I have feelings towards letters, numbers, words, and names based on mental images of mysteriously assigned colors is just... just... just stupid, really. The entire concept is just flat out ridiculous.

So there you have it. If I can't remember your phone number, now you know why. But i'm not going to tell you what the ugliest name in the English language is, because i'd hurt too many feelings. It is honestly just the nastiest mustard barf. And it begins with J, and that's all i'm saying.


O.Shane said...

I want synesthesia! It sounds fun to have. I feel like I have a very low level form of it, but nothing so explicit as what you've described.

How would you feel if I told you that the number between every set of "twin primes" (those only 2 apart) above and including 5 and 7 is divisible by six . . . (5,7) = 6 is divisible by 6. (41, 43) = 42 is divisible by six, etc.

What kind of colors does that evoke?

delilah said...

That just adds a lovely splash of plummy purple to everything and makes me want to get out an Excel spreadsheet and go to prime city.

It did make it really difficult to choose our children's names, however. There were entire letters of the alphabet we had to ignore...

Valerie said...

I love reading about you. You're full of good stuff. I'm also glad to infer by your letter hint that Valerie is not your most hated name ever. Is it Justin?

Please advise me on your hated names, as we hope to soon start baby-making, and I would hate to have you spit every time you have to say my kid's name. :-)

Jillian, Ryan and Benjamin said...

Oh no, it's Jillian, isn't it.

I just just saw a documentary about synesthesia. It's apparently much more common than anyone realized. I think I have a pinch of it with flavors and shapes.