Have you ever noticed that for most overhears our brain eagerly seeks out an image to represent it?
I overhear a mom reading to a toddler, and without even seeing it I picture the child sitting on the mom’s lap, maybe even eating a cookie or treat.
I overhear a truck passing by with music blaring, and I picture what the driver looks like, including details like his pierced ear or mustache.
But guess what? Sitting next to the bathroom at the DMV (for an hour and a half) I realized there are some things I really don’t want to visualize. A guy peeing happens to be one of them. It got me thinking: what other sounds would I not want to connect with an image?
Of course there is the generally accepted, parents having sex, but what else? For me most bodily functions are off limits…. Changing a pad during a period, someone picking their nose (although I’m not sure what sound I would overhear associated with that one), and someone scratching their chest.
But the thing is that as a writer, when I create my characters, I have to imagine them doing all of these things. Why? As readers (or viewers of media) we aren’t typically subjected to these images. But it doesn’t mean the character doesn’t do them. And no, before you call my husband in concern, I don’t mean that I believe my characters are alive. What I mean is that I have to take into account the fact that if my character has a cold they will, undoubtedly need to blow their nose. And, if I have set them someplace where there is no tissue handy (like in the woods,) well then they will pick their nose or wipe it on their sleeve.
Do you remember the Amazing Race final episode where the sisters were racing for the finish line and one of them had to use the toilet, costing them the race? Was I the only person to imagine her simply peeing her pants? For some reason I am okay visualizing this. But ask me to picture her sitting on the toilet and I have a much more difficult time. Still, it was one of those rare time when as viewers we were had to participate in this bodily function that usually doesn’t make the final cut.
On the other hand, it doesn’t mean I have to force myself to visualize these things in my daily world. Certainly I can tell you that next time I visit the DMV I will put more effort into picking my seat.
Here’s to many journeys where you don’t have to sit next to the toilet for the whole trip.
Don't forget - I just published Part one of my new Free Read THE PROMISE at: http://freereadsfromthegenre-istas.blogspot.com/2014/05/Birthday-Promises.html