Monday, May 15

I do believe my antennae are twitching

Roche Harbor, San Juan Island to Poet's Cove and today to Nanaimo:

Not too long ago, I caught the tail end of an NPR program that was about the experiences of people serving long-term prison sentences. A man was speaking about the sensory deprivation that comes from an extended incarceration. As described, life becomes reduced to various shades of grays, cold metal, the jangling of keys, and bland food – day in and day out. Prisoners, he related, become dulled to the input around them. It’s as if each person were entombed alive in swathes of cotton.

He then shared his observation and surprise that, upon release, he found us “free” people to exhibit much the same “dullness” of sensory deprivation. He remarked that our antennae had long since ceased twitching. And while he was nearly blinded from each input - the depth of the color, the flavor of the food, the richness of the sounds - the rest of us walked around blind to it all.

I have experienced this feeling in my life; the sense that you know you should be appreciating each moment, taking it all in, keeping it all in perspective. Yet, at the same time, you feel completely unable to do so. Colors dull, sounds fade, food tastes bland and you try to appreciate it all, but feel the sense of swimming through dense swabs of trivialities and petty annoyances.

And while the image of antennae twitching reminds me frighteningly too much of a ginormous-sized roach I did combat with in D.C. one summer, I continue to gravitate towards it. If your life feels this way; if your antennae cease to twitch, twitch them into awakening. Taking a job doing something challenging and exciting is one way. Today is my first day of a totally exhilarating job. Commence the twitching.


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