5 Yesterday after church we went to the local botanical gardens. They haven’t been there very long, but they are well worth a visit.

The day also featured Wii and ice cream.

We’ve had an ongoing discussion this weekend about preferred sensory modalities.

I’m not sure where this conversation began. It could have been when we were watching Numb3rs and #2 daughter remarked on how irritating it would be to have someone talking about math the whole time.

I pointed out to her that we talked about music the whole time, ourselves. I mean, we talk about lots of other things as well, but there is certainly a whole lot of talk about music.

As long as the other people have the same preferences, it isn’t noticeable that one person is talking about a certain

5

subject with great frequency. I had noticed, in conversations with The Computer Guy, that I talk about language a whole lot, but that’s only because I’d give an example of something involving language and he’d counter with something about road design. To me, the task we were working on would have been self-evidently all about language, and to him, it was a design issue, very like roads.

#2 daughter is a visual processor. The simple proof of this fact which I offered to her is that she puts on her glasses when she answers the phone in the morning.

I rarely put on my glasses at all, unless I’m driving. Visual input just isn’t that important to me.

5We were speculating about people we knew. M Bassoon was among them. I always think that auditory is a good starting point for musicians. #2 daughter disagreed. “Music is very visual!” she insisted.

Music isn’t visual at all for me. This is one of the things about the various sensory modalities that causes them to affect communication. It is so completely self-evident to each of us that the way we perceive things is the way things are, that we have trouble perceiving them any other way.

So it is very strange to #2 daughter that I can’t easily recognize my own car in a parking lot.

Well, maybe that really is strange. 5

She was also showing me pictures of The Computer Guy on facebook, where they are friends, and testing to see whether I could recognize which of the people in the groups was in fact The Computer Guy.

By the fifth or sixth picture I could.

She laughed at me for this. I like and admire The Computer Guy.

“And you’ve met him, right?”she asked. “Or have you just seen his picture?”

I had to admit that I had sat across a table from him for a couple of hours at a time, on several occasions. But if I saw him out in the street, I might not recognize him. Unless he spoke. Then of course I would recognize his voice.

It seems to me that my agoraphobia is mostly about perception. There is something wrong with my perception of the world, I think, that makes certain spaces distressing to me.

5While we were at the mall, we went into a book store. They had a magazine rack that angled out toward the customer. It made us feel dizzy and queasy.

It was not a pleasant sensation, but when #2 daughter complained about it, I seized the moment to tell her that this was how it was for me in the mall.

It’s not that I am scared of people or that I imagine dangers around the corner, but that the sensory input is horrible in some way that is different from what most people receive there.

For me, the sounds are awful. The way it looks there — more in some stores than in others — is strange and 5confusing. I can’t tell how to get out. It gets worse over time. Scary roads are like that, too. Gravity appears not to be working properly.

The magazine rack made us feel as though something was wrong. #2 daughter felt as though it were going to fall on her. I felt as though there were an earthquake going on. She has never been in an earthquake, which I think is why that didn’t occur to her.

Now that is a design issue for sure.

On further consideration, we thought M. Bassoon might be more of a kinesthetic kind of guy — touch dominant, as Ozarque puts it.

I asked #2 daughter what he does in a stressful situation. None of us uses only one processing mode. But when 5you’re under stress, you hang on more tightly to the preferred one.

So, if you think you’re lost,  you will probably stare at the map if you are more visual, run your finger along it if you are more kinesthetic, and talk about your route (whether anyone is there to hear you or not) if you are more auditory.

M. Bassoon doesn’t get lost. However, once when they were uncertain about where they were going, he and #2 daughter reached an intersection, and M. Bassoon said “She lives on this road.”

“He saw where he was,” #2 daughter concluded.

5 “Not necessarily,” said I. “It could just have been a physical memory.”

You know how you can’t remember whether you’ve taken your vitamins or not, but when you reach out for the bottle, your hand tells your brain that it has already made that motion today? Or you can’t remember the phone number until you being to dial it (this is not such a good example any more, I realize)? Or you write a word to determine how to spell it?

These things are more often true for the kinesthetic processors among us.

And music is pretty physical, too.

5 So, yeah, we were talking about all this as we enjoyed the gardens.

There were mosaics, such as this giant ear of corn in the vegetable garden. I liked the way the vegetable garden was a welter of flowers and herbs and vegetables all higgledy-piggledy in the beds. I would do that in my own garden, but my husband would hate it.

It was also interesting to see how big the vegetable plants get if you don’t pick and eat them. A lettuce the size of a basketball wouldn’t taste good, so we don’t grow them that big, but they look imposing.

People talked to us there. Other visitors, I mean, joined in conversation with us.

It struck me that #2 daughter seemed surprised by this at first. She has obviously been living in The Big City so long that she is out of the habit of this kind of routine friendliness.

Around here, mere proximity gives you the right, or at least permission, to talk with people.

5 My college buddy M.A. found it alarming. She seemed to think people were going to attack her, or steal her luggage, or something, when of course they just wanted to know where she was from, and help her carry things, and possibly give her a recipe or something.

#2 daughter, having grown up here, wasn’t  alarmed, but she was startled.

She left early this morning so she could get back in time for her pedicure appointment, followed by a job interview.

I might take the day off today. I am supposed to review a presentation and write materials for it, and the presentation is to take place a week from today, but I am waiting on someone else for that. And I do have a tutoring appointment. But my menfolks have the day off, so there might be more lounging around in my future.