Yesterday, my coworker, the man I sit across from day after day, announced that he has aphantasia, aka no ability to visualize images in his mind’s eye. They also call this mind blind.
I should have known something was up based on a conversation I had with him about dreams. I told him about a particularly wild and convoluted one I had and he told me that he never dreams about things that have never happened to him. He says he basically just dreams about work and doing errands and nothing strange or out of the ordinary ever occurs, rather it is like watching a rerun of his day.
Another time when we were discussing books turned into movies, he said it was irritating because movies often fail to match the facts of a book. I said, obviously people just see completely different stories when they read, drawing upon both their own worldview and strength of imaginations. He said, I never see anything when I read besides for the text on the page.
I just thought he was severely repressed.
Just as my coworker cannot imagine what it is like to have mental visualization, I cannot imagine what it is like not to have the capacity. The best I can come up with is that it is like living in a small room with bare white walls and no furniture and being okay with it because you know nothing other than those four walls. I suppose not knowing any different, then life in an empty room is as full as any life. It is what it is, as my coworker is fond of saying.
All the same, I will no longer take my convoluted dreams and bizarre fantasy life for granted. Part of the reason I am focusing so much on what is happening in my immediate physical surroundings is because I need a heavy weight to counterbalance my inner multiverse. When the precarious balance is achieved, that is where I work.
I have to finish my coffee now and go to my kids’ elementary school where they are having class observation followed by a school festival. On a Sunday. I am not pleased, honestly. There are so many, many other things I need to be working on today. But you know, it is what it is.