entry_107The usher is using a small flashlight to show people where their seats are. The way he wields it it’s not even a tool, but rather an extension of himself. He has one normal hand, and one lightbulb hand that exists to show people where to sit. In fact when someone approaches him to ask about something not related to sitting, “Pardon me, where are the restrooms?” he uses his lightbulb hand to point up the aisle, and then to the right. That’s not the use his lightbulb hand was intended for, but already he’s adapted. If he had an itch I’m sure he would scratch it using the warm red glow of his lightbulb hand. Later that night he finds himself frustrated as he tries to feed himself with it. Foiled by the lack of articulation in their lightbulb hands, his species will eventually die out, their bulbs fading, eventually, to permanent darkness.

Deaf folk, when they communicate by sign, use the same parts of their brains that hearing folk do when they communicate. So they say. I’ve tried it before just to see if it’s something that I can tap into, and I think I can feel something. In fact I feel the same thing when I try talking with my toes – that sense that I know what shapes to make with them for each phenome. There is only one correct position, and it’s not arbitrary. And the same thing applies to a few other body parts I’ve tried talking with, some of them internal. They don’t always have constructive things to say though, so I tend to keep my conversations to myself.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the mind is sticky, and it hesitates to cede control back to the mouth. This can be a distraction. I used to play Tetris at the office for hours every night just to deaden the day’s accumulated existential agony, and driving home afterward I would always see the cars as Tetris pieces. In my mind I devised strategies for fitting my car into the spaces between the other cars, and anticipated with satisfaction the feeling of blipping out of existence.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the line between the self and the world is so easily blurred. I think it’s part of the coping mechanism that keeps us from freaking out whenever we see ourselves in the mirror. If we were aware of how freakish we were at all hours of the day, how could we ever get anything done?

“In summary, I think we’re on track to have a really good quarter, as long as we continue to deliver on each… Holy shit! Spider hands! Spider hands – I’ve got spider hands! Ooh, it’s all attached to my brain – I can feel them wriggling! Sharp stones in my wet pink mouth, and jelly sac eyes! I’m a skin bag of meatballs!”

We’d go mad. Thus the mechanism that keeps the reality of it all from becoming too abstract. It assures us that it’s all safe, and everything is as it should be. Even though it’s clearly not. I watch the usher and the first tears fall from my slimy, squishy eyeballs.

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