I have a mild form of Synesthesia (a much-debated neurological oddity) which mostly manifests as what’s called ‘grapheme to colour synesthesia; that is I see colours very clearly attached to many words, particularly numbers and days.
But whilst that’s my most prevalent form (and most common generally) I also get occasional odd little connections between words/sounds and taste. Some music can bring a flood of saliva and taste (of oranges or something else specific) to my mouth.
The other night on the news a reporter used in regards to a legal case the phrase ‘due diligence’. My mouth flooded with saliva in a foul metallic-tasting way as it does when I’m extremely nausea. It was a brief sensation and mulling it over later I recognized it as a strange reaction to the phrase, and searched my mind to see if anything else wanted to connect, a kind of Rorschach mind-game. The word ‘Antwerp’ and an image of a coca-cola can were circling like cartoon birds do on a fresh-banged head and then began to seem so logically connected that I chanted them like a mantra: ‘due diligence, Antwerp, aluminium, coke’ over and over.
Yesterday upon remembering this I thought it was just a silly thing that got into my head then stuck like a Spice Girls song can still sometimes do. (“I tell you what I want what I really really want!”). But then today it came back so I decided to punch those words into the all-knowing Google-Goddess. Was there a connection? Hell yeah! Underground in Antwerp is a factory that produced among other things aluminium, for among other companies, Coca-Cola. In the days when aluminium cans were still around Coca-Cola was faced with thousands of people around Europe becoming sick (nausea and vomiting) from drinking from aluminium cans made at the Antwerp plant. This occurred in 1989, and back then my family drank 1.25 litres of coke per day. I have absolutely no recollection of this news story breaking in Australia, and have never thought about a place called Antwerp until seeing a crazy dance sequence on Youtube where folks at Antwerp station all break into the song ‘Doe, a Deer’ from ‘The Sound of Music’. Yet I guess it was big news and I must have heard a mention of it and just filed it away in the ‘forget for now’ part of the brain, where it made this connection to a mouthful of metallic saliva. For I do recall a bad batch of coke (though we drank bottles) that made Mum and I sick at one stage. When we called the company they said over-syruping had happened on some batches and offered us a free case. On behalf of my teeth I‘d like to apologise for the fact that we accepted it…
So over twenty years ago I digested (along with some bad coke) a little news-bite about Antwerp being a place that made cans for Coke. Something got into my brain about people wanting to sue Coke for getting sick. And so now the phrase ‘due diligence’ brings a taste of warm sickly metal to my mouth. Brains are surely bizarre. I mean, how weird is that?