Monday, February 19, 2007

The Five Senses

Those who have ever sat around drinking with me know that if they sit around long enough and refill my glass often enough, eventually I'll ask an annoying question like "if you were stranded on a deserted island with only three CDs, which CDs would you want?" or "if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?" or "if you had to give up one of your five senses, which one would it be?" Really, I'm the life of the party.

The five senses question is, for some reason, one of my favorites. And since nobody really likes answering my questions as much as I do, I've thought about it a lot since I first asked it. Actually, a better question would be, "which of your five senses would you give up LAST?" because it's pretty easy for most people to eliminate a mere one of the five.

Although I love food (and wine!) and would list several foods among my all-time favorite things, taste is the first to go for me, mostly because I can do without it. Sure, I'd miss peaches and hush puppies and
Sweet Water's crab fritters, but not as much as I'd miss all the stuff I love about the other four senses.

And once you're down to four it starts to get tricky. I eliminate sight next. Nobody else, by the way, ever gives up sight this early in the game. I imagine that's a practical consideration, and I agree that it would be pretty inconvenient not to be able to see anything, but I'm also aware that I'm never going to be required to give up one (or more) of my five senses so practicality doesn't really enter into it for me. Impractically speaking, sight is nice for sunsets, which I can do without almost as easily as I can do without peaches.

Keep in mind I don't WANT to give up peaches OR sunsets, but that's sort of the point of the game.

After relinquishing taste and sight I'm left with smell, hearing, and touch. And I'm pretty much screwed -- I NEED those other senses. I know what you're thinking: smell?! This chick gave up sight in order to keep SMELL? but if you'd ever been to the
Outer Banks in October when the olive bushes are in bloom and the whole island smells like heaven, you wouldn't be so quick to give up smell either. Most of our memories are wrapped up in smell, and smell is perhaps my keenest sense. I live by smell.

And I can't give up hearing because I need music. Turning on the radio is the first thing I do in the morning, and the last thing I do before going to bed is to turn it off. I actually get grumpy if I go for very long without music. I can't imagine living without it.

Nor can I do without touch. Although I once knew a girl who gave up touch first without even THINKING about it ("you'd never be cold," she explained), touch is probably the last sense I'd be willing to part with. Sure, you'd never be cold, but you'd never be warm and cozy either. You'd never feel the sand between your toes or the weather-worn planks of the boardwalk under your feet. You'd never feel cool saltwater on hot sunburned skin as you dive into an oncoming wave. I'm not even sure you could feel something as wonderful as buoyancy. Plus, without touch, sex would probably be a drag.

So there you go. Now you know what it's like to have a beer with me.

12 comments:

Melissa said...

1. smell
2. taste
3. touch
4. hearing
5. sight

Phil said...

Smell would be first to go, though I'm not sure how that would change my sense of taste, I'm a smoker so I figure I've pretty much given it away anyways.

Are the documented cases of people losing their sense of touch, that would be last for me. To not feel anything, I would think, would change what it is to be alive.

vikkitikkitavi said...

I used to do this sense memory exercise with my acting students. I would have them lay on the floor with their eyes closed while recalling a childhood memory over and over. Each time they replayed it I would lead them through while emphasizing a different sense.

Every time I did it, without fail, when I would start the "smell" portion, all the students would get these big-ass grins on their faces. They were all smiling, but all for different reasons. It was always hard not to laugh when I would walk through the room, because none of them knew they were all smiling but me.

Chris said...

I'm not going to tell you mine yet. I'd rather wait until you're drunk again.

Megan said...

Melissa - See what I mean about sight?

Phil - I doubt there's ever been a case of someone lacking the sense of touch, but in my hypothetical world we're pretending (OK, *I'm* pretending) it's possible.

Vikki - Sounds cool, and smell's a biggie. It's like a clinically proven fact.

Chris - Well that shouldn't take long.

Anon. Blogger said...

Although you described it in an incredibly great way, I still think actually having beers with you would be very fun! Glad you're back and feeling better!

The question is just too difficult!!

My family background includes blindness and deafness. My ex husband lost his sence of smell (therefore taste) for many years. I've seen how much the loss of sence affects life, and am sooooo grateful for them all. Totally with you on the touch thing, too.

genn6 said...

smell would go for me, too, just because I need it the least. Sound would be last because I'm a music-person.

The good thing is that all this means you are not boring to sit around and drink with. ;)

Coaster Punchman said...

I got drunk just reading your story.

Coaster Punchman said...

I got drunk just reading your story.

Tenacious S said...

I work with kids with sensory integration disorder and let me tell you, when your sense of touch gets screwed up, it's a big problem.

Megan said...

AB - It's the difficult that makes it fun, at least for me. Did you ex's sense of smell return? And I didn't even know it was possible to lose such a thing, aside from when you have a cold or something.

Genn6 - You're right, smell isn't that useful. But I so love it!

CP - Pretty impressive!

TenS - Sensory integration disorder? I've never heard of it. And I never really thought your sense of touch COULD get screwed up.

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