I’ve been working with my friend on how to put into words what it is like having synesthesia. Being a projector synesthete, it is oddly easier for me to animate it.
I’m finding it really really difficult to put into words, but look at me now … attempting to put into words what it is like … the way I know how.
I’m now in month 15 since being diagnosed. I spent the first six months angry, then three motivated, then three angry again, and the last three building out a series of products that could help me lead a better life.
See, I have a lot of different types of synesthesia, so it makes my overall “processing” very very sensitive.
(I’m speaking in vague terms until I can talk about it more openly but) Due to such sensitivity, I got pretty pissed at what was available on the market.
I paid almost $50 for what Amazon called “sensory lenses” only to laugh my ass off at how horrifically cheap they were.
.50 cent glasses marked up to $50 really riled up my autistic sense of injustice.
Focused on myself first, I then bought a pair of my own frames (this time Tom Ford), and took them to the eye doctor next to my favorite watering hole.
I didn’t know that that one tiny product preference would actually change the direction of my career.
My friends (who are mostly neurodivergent) then asked about the glasses I was wearing, and without skipping a beat I would comment saying “these aren’t sunglasses, these are my sensory glasses. They help me feel less ‘buzzy.'”
That then opened up the conversation to what sensory lenses are, and they wanted to try them on.
They’ve even been worn by a dog (but solely for likes on the Gram).
The result has been months of (truly astounding) research and development.
I’ve been buying up as many “on-the-market” glasses I could find (while out and about and with intention) and as I kept A/B testing, the frames that I made kept having more of an impact.
I’m still in R&D, but BECAUSE I have synesthesia, I can easily recognize when I am onto something … and I KNOW I am onto something.
While my spidey senses may be tingling at a very high rate, because of these lenses, I have had a lot more energy around people and thus have been the most social I have been since … even before COVID.
My friends say my face is a lot more animated, and shockingly, people want to hang out a lot more.
Or, maybe now that I know I’m autistic, they are just asking more directly (or maybe I am starting to speak neurotypical) …
Either way, last Saturday, Jeff and I set the intention to buy our friend a birthday gift.
I suggested (for no particular reason at the time) going to the Fairfax above Beverly area. It’s become a really cool “scene” for the last handful of years, and with all the skate and sneaker shops, I was curious to show Jeff “what the cool kids were up to.”
Fortunately, for our own cool kid self, we parked at the Grove and due to the OVERWHELMING CROWDS OF A SATURDAY AT THE GROVE …
… we dipped into the much quieter William Sonoma while we perused for a gift.
<tangent> See, Jeff and I “adventure” together. We literally call it adventuring – and what we do is set an intention for the day, and then see where everything else takes us. We knew we had a bottle of something fancy at our place, so no matter what we wouldn’t show up empty handed to our friend’s fiesta, but we also “don’t know what we don’t know” and enjoy finding that out together. </tangent>
“Apron, got it,” Jeff said from one of the William Sonoma aisles.
Our friend really likes to cook and a William Sonoma apron has actual weight to it.
It’s the “masters degree” of apron-ry, and considering our friend just moved into a new space, we considered it both a perfect housewarming and birthday present.
Now, with the rest of the day on our hands, (well technically until 8:30pm which was the agreed time to meet to celebrate his birth) we walked north towards Beverly.
Jeff then commented on Canters deli, saying “I’m not sure who has the best matzah ball soup, Canter’s or Nate’s.”
Now, in 38 years I have said a lot of things … but one of the things I have NEVER said is “I am craving matzah ball soup.”
Putting my ADHD impulsivity in check, we then checked out a few stores before I said to Jeff, “I’d really like to have a cup of matzah ball soup at Canters.”
We then each ordered our own bowl (not cup), as we played competitive checkers while we waited.
It’s really just an app Jeff has on his phone, but we have both gotten so good that we can make as many as 40 moves before the app says “do you want a draw?”
NO, I DO NOT WANT A DRAW, APP!! WE FIGHT TIL THE END!!!!
I shook Jeff’s hand with a game well played (he won this time) as we closed out our bill and closed out our time on Fairfax north of Beverly.
I’m a logistics person, so now with gift in hand, I didn’t know if our friend would want to walk around with said gift all evening.
I then sent this text to his girlfriend …
Not only did I pick the PART of town they were going to be CELEBRATING HIS BIRTHDAY IN AS A COUPLE, but I SAID I WAS CRAVING MATZAH BALL SOUP.
I CAN BARELY SPELL MATZAH BALL SOUP LET ALONE TELL YOU ONE OTHER TIME IN MY LIFE WHERE I HAVE CRAVED IT!!!!
We had NO reason to be there, except for my “initial idea and then craving.”
I’m a projective synesthete so the things I “pick up on” are very real and very literal to me. I can’t tell the difference between “picking up on something” or my own “inspired thought.”
Synesthesia is like having an additional layer to life that acts as a heat map (and sometimes a cheat sheet).
I just “feel and know things” that are as real to me as the table that I am writing this on.
Technically the computer that I am writing on that is sitting on the table, but you get what I mean.
<tangent> If you’ve seen the tv show Poker Face, she too has projective synesthesia.
It’s been very validating seeing what I know I experience (and have been diagnosed with) on a TV show, but I also have to laugh re-watching the first season that we should both have access to a lifetime subscription of therapy.
I don’t always WANT to be where the “heat” is, I just more likely than not end up there BECAUSE of synesthesia.
This would also explain how not only did I get to meet Jack Dorsey AND RICK RUBIN in the middle of nowhere in Texas, I PHYSICALLY OPENED MY LAPTOP DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEM!!!!
(First Jack, then Rick.)
TWO OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN MODERN TIMES CASUALLY DINING AND I POINTED AND SAT DOWN DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEM WITHOUT REALIZING WHAT I HAD JUST DONE.
Fortunately, I was in my skeleton onesie, so awesomeness was almost matched (+1 for fashion, working on the rest).
Synesthesia does have its benefits, but without knowing what “it was,” I couldn’t know how to balance myself out within it.
This led to sensory and autistic meltdowns, which paired with unprocessed trauma made me think I was having a nervous breakdown at 22 (which resulted in me 5150ing myself). </tangent>
Feeling pretty impressed with myself, we then arrived 15 minutes or so early to our friends bday party.
I now know I have to get to places (as best as I can) a little early just to be able to balance the tone of the environment before people get there.
Seeing auras and hearing vibrational tones may sound cool, but it’s at times, very very overwhelming.
As we went to put the name of the bar into the Uber, Jeff noticed nothing populated.
Not thinking anything of it, I said “here’s the address, you can just put that in.”
His gf then texted …
As we arrived at the bar, a man (I assumed the bouncer) came running out from the back of the VERY crowded bar to greet us.
“Are you here for the show?” he asked.
“We’re here for the birthday party.”
“Are you here for the show?” he asked again confused by our response.
“No, we’re here for the birthday party,” we said in unison slower as he motioned for the bartender to come over.
“Hi, we’re here for so and so’s birthday party,” we said to someone other than the person we said it to two times before.
“I’m the bartender, and I don’t know about any birthday party.”
Now, REALLY confused, I asked, “are you open for business? Can we get a drink?”
He finally caught on that we weren’t there for whatever show was happening, we were literally just there to see our friends and celebrate his birthday which happened to be at a bar where there is coincidentally a show.
It truly was a packed house, and sensory wise, not at all what I expected.
Throughout the sea of people, all I could see were multiple veils from what looked like a groupon style bachelorette party?!
I was SO confused, so I sipped my drink pretending not to glance over at any/ every opportunity I had.
I then realized this might be a lot so I texted his gf giving her the heads up that the place was pretty packed.
Confused why the bouncer was so confused and why that was so difficult, I asked the bartender “what’s the show tonight?”
Without skipping a beat, he goes “it’s an all male review.”
My friend picked a bar to throw his quiet bday party at a bar that HAPPENED to be hosting an all male review.
We weren’t seeing a Groupon bachelorette party, we were seeing MULTIPLE bachelorette parties being uh, serviced, at an ALL MALE REVIEW.
I looked over at the bar and laughed at my beautifully placed William Sonoma bag and wondered if it paired well with …
Wait, we need a song change for this next part.
<tangent> Side note for two fun facts, the club that the original Magic Mike took place in was actually in Studio City, California. I know this because Jeff was personally responsible for turning it into an office (for the company he then worked for). He did it in two weeks AND increased the value of the property by $200,000 just because he was able to switch the licensing/ permits from a night club into office space.
AND another fun fact, while I have never been to an all male review, I was once hit on by one of the stars of Magic Mike.
I was sitting in the club inside Slash’s house, in-between him and Tom Cruise’s son Conner.
His pick up line was “I heard you’re really smart.”
He really knew how to talk dirty to me, only I couldn’t speak (selective mutism was triggered). Which was technically also a good thing since he was dating Elvis Presley’s granddaughter at the time so obvs it would never work.
We then all went across the street to Paris Hilton’s house (which was featured in the movie the Bling Ring) and I saw Lil Wayne perform at her birthday party (inside her club) …. and in one evening, my 20 something year old self felt like I did ALL of Los Angeles.
Fortunately, it wasn’t THE OTHER Magic Mike star aka my now business partner’s little brother, because family hitting on family is not my thing. WHEW! </tangent>
“I’m really glad you gave me a heads up,” his girlfriend said upon arrival.
See, I found it HILARIOUS this was happening.
Our friend? Let’s just say needed a minute to process.
Fortunately, we were on the absolute opposite side of the bar, but still – it wasn’t THAT big of a place and it’s not like bachelorette parties are ever quiet (let alone multiple bachelorette parties).
Our friend showed up in a Burger King crown which personally I thought paired well with his newly acquired William Sonoma apron.
WAY better than 🍆🍆.
The birthday boy however did not think it was so funny when he went to go use the restroom, and thought he might be confused for one of the dancers.
Mama bear mode activated, I said, “don’t worry, I’ll protect you from all the horny bachelorettes.”
AGAIN WITH ALL THE THINGS AND SENTENCES I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY!!!!
See the bar was shaped like an L.
And the bathroom was in the lower nook/bottom of the L.
To use it, we had to physically go THROUGH the all male review.
As I stood by the restroom (absorbing all possible views), I was surprised by what I was seeing. This looked less like what I thought an “all male review” would be and more like an aggressive sexual beat down.
I thought it would be more dancey, and less, simulated sex. I physically heard one of the dancers motorboat a woman’s personal oasis.
There was total nudity AND THIS IS JUST WHAT WE SAW TRYING TO USE THE RESTROOM.
I quickly made a little video laughing with the birthday boy.
As I did, one of the bachelorettes, who did not want to be picked up, had her bum exposed to all of the bar (as she was placed on the shoulders of the dancer).
Her friends had been filming her, and she was noticeably upset by it.
And it wasn’t just HER friend filming it was ALL of the other friends filming.
The birthday boy quickly deleted the video I made using his phone, as I thought about consent in such a public setting.
So, you consent to a bachelorette party, you consent to hiring a dancer, and or being there physically … where is the consent on what happens to you after that?
What I saw was a woman really upset that she was exposed to the bar, yet her friends were cheering her and everything that was happening “on.”
I know where these videos end up, I just wasn’t sure if that was okay.
Having never been in a position like that, (or like a lot of them were in) I then pulled up the IG page for the bar. Or should I say, tried to – I was curious to see what content was tagged.
I tried different variations of the name in a google and IG search, and couldn’t find anything.
I found that strange, but then pulled up their website and found at the vveerrryyyy bottom their social icons.
I’m not saying that they’re purposefully trying to hide things. Considering how massive the crowd was, I don’t think they are hurting for business. It’s most likely just an error in setting up their social platforms (which happens all the time).
(Even at time of writing this) I didn’t see any tagged content from the bachelorettes – which made me happy considering it is a private ritual …. that just happened to be held in a public place.
We then all consented to having our own photos taken.
This time in the photo booth situated in the 🍆-less area.
As you can see, I thought this was one of the funniest moments of “oops” I had ever seen.
We all had a great laugh about it, as the birthday boy found another MUCH quieter spot for us to all hang out.
As I closed out our tab, I asked the bartender “how often does this happen?”
“Every Saturday,” he said like it was the most casual/ normal thing.
I can’t say I’ll personally ever be back, but now we know, and what a way to ring in a birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRIEND!!!
I’m really happy you were born and I got to tell this story. Let’s keep “oops-ing” together!!!!