a form of synesthesia in which an individual’s perception of numbers and letters is associated with the experience of colors
For me, it manifests only in the numbers 1-9, in a psuedo-spectrum, and typically only when I think about these numbers in a sequence. The sequence can be subdivided into smaller sequences like 789, and I’ll still experience color. After I’ve thought about a sequence, I can then think about an individual number and its color will persist. The number 3 seems to do nothing for me, but 1 is white.
There’s no effect on my ability to accurately perceive color in the real world. All of this is happening in my mind when I think about these numbers. If I’m thinking about 789, I will “see” it in my mind as something close to the colors above.
Was it Sesame Street?
For many years, I attributed this to some forgotten experience that had imprinted on me during a formative cognitive stage — maybe a Sesame Street short, or colorful refrigerator magnets.
Above is my first-ever attempt at capturing what these colors “look” like in my mind. I’m not fully satisfied with this. In fact, something about seeing it with my eyeballs, instead of my mind grapes, it just doesn’t feel right. It makes me itch a bit. But, there it is for you.
The Calendar Year as a Disc
I have another form that I know less about, which is harder to explain. When I think about the calendar year, I picture it as …like a looped ribbon, or a banked track (ala roller derby). The curve around the Winter months is much tighter and that side is down lower. Summer is a more open curve, more expansive and up higher. Here’s someone else’s depiction of this type:
I can place memories spatially on the oval ribbon thingy. Placement is specific, and I am always currently placed at the spot for this moment in time on the ribbon, and I can look around the ribbon at the months-past and future. I don’t have any color associations with the calendar year. Here’s a crazy Google Image search for this phenomenon.
By the way, the latest issue of UPPERCASE included a piece about Synesthesia by Nadia Hassan.
People commuting by bike [in the States] are such a small proportion of the population that — whether we like it or not — every person is implicitly an ambassador for cycling. When you’re on the bike, you’re extremely visible to every other member of your community. So, if you’re goal as a cyclist is simply getting a workout and getting to-and-fro quickly, carry on as you were.
However, if, as a cyclist, you want to model behavior that captures the imagination of pedestrians and drivers around you, and thus influence them to consider cycling themselves, then you need to shed the chamois. If you’re looking cute, wearing everyday work clothes, casually cycling an upright bike to the office, you are much more likely to subconsciously influence someone to consider cycling. When we’re all sprinting around downtown in our spandex kits, it’s much easier for “othering” to occur — pedestrians and drivers won’t see themselves in you.
A few months back, I was riding my bike out of my neighborhood, and a guy turning onto my street drove directly at me in my lane. Head on. I was just waiting at the stop sign, and he gunned it directly towards me, into my lane, and scared the crap out of me.
Why? Because he was being impatient making a left-hand turn onto the street, and didn’t want to wait to turn until after the next car passed by. He nearly hit me because he couldn’t wait 4 seconds for that car to pass, to make a slow and safe turn into his own neighborhood.
He lives three houses down from me. He’s my neighbor. I see him walking his dogs a couple times a week. My neighbor almost hit me with his car as I waited at the stop sign.
I rarely do this, because it’s a terrible idea. But, I rode back to his house to talk to him about it.
Me: “Hey, that was pretty scary. You nearly hit me.”
Him: “Well, you were in the way. I couldn’t tell what you were doing.”
Me: “I was waiting at the stop sign. You’re my neighbor man, don’t you know how scary it is to have a car come barreling towards you like that?! What if you hit me?”
Him: “mumble mumble”
I rode away, feeling pissed and unsatisfied with the encounter.
The anonymity of cars brings out the worst in all of us. Cars prevent us from having humane interactions with our neighbors. Cars break down a sense of community that we would otherwise have passing each other and making eye contact on the sidewalk.
Cycling in the U.S. from a Dutch perspective. This video shows some of the best cycling infrastructure that we have here in the States — SF, Davis, and Chicago — and yet, this “infra” is clearly still lacking.
"This situation makes clear why you are 30 times more likely to get injured as a cyclist in the U.S. than you are in the Netherlands.”