sensory contrasts

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Jolted from my sleep at 3.30am by a smashing crack! Heart thumping wildly, as if wanting break free of the ribcage, I broke into a cold sweat. The seeping, sickly warm-cold sizzle of fear crawled up my back and clamped around nape. The Door Slammer was up and about. Again. A faulty hydraulic door stopper? No doubt, but knowing that, why couldn’t she make sure to hold the door and close it manually? Doesn’t the sudden explosive crack bother her at all? Obviously not. The terrible thing is, this person persists despite already having been spoken to by the building’s manager. What is worse, since the manager sent out an email to residents about the noise and door slamming issue, urging everyone to be more considerate, a few others have now decided to join in the fun and games, as if in defiant retaliation. Will it, can it get any worse? The saga unfolds…

I am not the only one upset. I spoke to a neighbour, and he told me he was extremely annoyed too. The difference? My issue isn’t merely that of annoyance. It is a sensory attack, which triggers high cortisol levels that I can neither reason away nor recover quickly from. The effects of this fear-anxiety shock last over an hour, and they have been accumulating day after day, shock after shock, like debris swirling around a giant sink, unable to drain off, collecting around the too small outlets, rancid and rotting.

After slamming her door, she sauntered out, chatting loudly, her less than dulcet tones jangling in my ear, trailing off towards the study rooms, where there was more than one voice carrying on. I called security to report the noise nuisance. A security officer came, spoke to them, the noise died down, but as soon as the security officer left, the volume turned up again.

At wits’ end. I finally fell back to sleep an hour and a half later, plunging into a terrifying dream, in which Lucy was badly injured and I was trying desperately to call the vet but couldn’t find the phone number, couldn’t get my phone to work and the horrible wretched distress drove the dream to a frantic stretto. Thankfully, I woke up to find my beautiful Angel by my side, alert, staring at me with concern in her soft amber eyes, and as soon as I reached for her, she gently licked my hand.

After breakfast, Lucy and I made a trip back to my art studio, at the other campus, my college campus. She hates the shuttle bus ride, but she is a valiant and spunky girl. As I walked into the college grounds, I was suddenly conscious of a resonant feeling of peace. A suddenness so deliciously contrasting with that of the slamming doors. I could literally feel the warm, soft texture of a luxurious velvety cloak wrapped around the entire space of that campus, a delightful oxymoron of excited-tranquility. As I entered, I was engulfed inside its embrace. The sounds of laughter of young people enjoying hearty social interaction wafted through the air like undulating waves, and surprising, not at all jarring. They were having fun in the proper physical and mental spaces, and the sunshine favoured them. It felt as if I had returned ‘home’ and all the horror of the previous hours softly and gently faded away in a sigh.

Stark contrasts. My workplace. And the space that is supposed to be my living abode. The tension is shredding my nerves into brittle slivers, tenuously held together by jaw clenching resolve. I am locked inside a state of frozen hot burning fear. And the Door Slamming is out and about, I can hear her even as I type.

To move or not to move? These Extreme Neurotypicals are everywhere. What if I moved, and found myself living next door to yet another one of these types?

Weaving in and out of the excruciating, surreal insanity of the last few days, and the roller coaster ride today into the brief few hours of clemency at my art college campus and little studio, then back into the spin of anxiety again, there is of course the exercise of feeding oneself. Food always helps keep one alive in more than body, doesn’t it? I am grateful for food. I eat with thankfulness. Always. And when I can eat without tears, the appreciation is all the more marked. It is time for bed. I leave you with the visual images that speak their own parts in this dramaturge, and I make no apologies for capturing my food in visual archives. Food speaks a sensory language that words cannot express.

Good night, world. See you in the morning. I go to bed each night now hoping for peace and quiet, but not knowing if and when the next sensory assaultive explosion will occur. My one constant comfort is an Angel.


2 thoughts on “sensory contrasts

  1. Oh I know that cold sweat of terror at night! Once it sounded like a gun shot far, far away, but my brain didn’t know where, and boy, did it go crazy wild. That door slamming could just as well be a gun shot for your brain too! Once those hyper-alert brains have rallied the chemical force, there’s no turning back until they have run out of steam. It is SO selfish of door-slammers!
    What to do?!
    The only thing really, is to try your best to give your poor brain a good time later, to balance things out, as happened this very day for you! There is always beauty in peace somewhere!
    And, of course, there IS your Angel. What a relief waking up must have been!xx

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