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Tasting things that aren’t there

December 7, 2010

This last Sunday at church, though I wasn’t even eating anything at all, and the pastor wasn’t even talking about food, suddenly I tasted limabeans. Unlike tasting chocolate, garlic, or thinking of the letter L when I get to a certain in my sheet music, I don’t think this was a synesthisia moment. The ones I’ve just mentioned are consistent and much more subtle. (Does anyone else think starbuck’s white chocolate mocha tastes like the color orange? I think it tastes like a muted-orange/clay color, but everyone else thinks it tastes like white chocolate.)

This limabean experience knocked me off my feet. (not literally. Actually it brought me to my feet to run out of the sanctuary and to the bathroom.) It was chalky and hot and buttery and had a nasty edge to it like it had been left on the counter too long. I went to go wash out my mouth, but of course that didn’t help, because it was as if I were tasting it with my whole face, instead of just my mouth. It was that strong and that disruptive. It faded gradually after a few minutes but oh, I was afraid it’d come back. When I thought of it it did come back a little, so I tried to ‘look away’ so to speak.

I’ve had similar experiences. While in a doctors office I tasted mango, very powerfully in the same manner. I felt as if all of me were engaged in tasting the mango, and it slacked off the same way as the limabeans. Only I like mango, so it wasn’t a big deal. Also, it’s happened with apples, which I also enjoy.

This experience was more involved. I was sitting in a warm classroom back in September, and the teacher mentioned something was due in November and to plan ahead, and suddenly my vision dimmed and I was in a field someplace very cold, I felt the cold wind concentrated on my wrists and ankles as if I were wearing long sleeves and long pants, but I was in shorts and a t-shirt. I smelled and felt the slightly-warmer earth beneath my feet, and the air tasted very strongly of apples, and in a way I can’t describe, the word ‘November’ was everywhere though it was not written or spoken. I looked around and wondered why I was there, but it didn’t seem to matter much because there was this pervasive calm flowing through me. Slowly it faded and I came back into my body.  My vision came back… it was a very strange experience, and I was sorry to return.

Given my other experiences (hearing voices) you might classify these experiences as gustatory (and other) hallucinations. *shrugs* Also, the vision-going-dim-and-leaving-altogether-then-coming-back-later thing has happened on more than one occasion and it sounds like hysterical blindness or a conversion disorder. I have this thing about naming things and classifying them, although it doesn’t explain them. What I really want is someone to explain these things to me.

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