Spouse: hey, did you get a chance to read that article I sent you? The one about aphantasia?
Spouse: …I thought it brought up a lot of interesting points.
Me: SURE DID
Spouse: Um, I liked that the author specifically countered the idea that aphantasia equals uncreative. I loved hearing about that guy who works at Pixar who has aphantasia. Clearly he must have imagination!
Me: YEAH THAT WAS GREAT
Spouse: …and I thought it was kind of cool that the doctor they interviewed said he didn’t think aphantasia was a disability.
ME: ACTUALLY HE SAID “DISORDER”
Me: HE SAID “THIS IS NOT A DISORDER IT’S A VARIATION IN HUMAN EXPERIENCE”
Spouse: I mean, that’s kind of nice to hear.
Me: “AN INTRIGUING VARATION” TO BE EXACT
Spouse: …yeah, that fits in with the idea that aphantasia could be about more than just visualizing or not visualizing. Like I can visualize really well but I’m not very good at remembering songs. And I can’t imagine flavors at all. Whereas you have aphantasia and you always have music going in your head. And you can “taste” anything just by thinking about it. Hey – maybe that’s part of why you’re a better cook than I am.
Me: YEP YEP FASCINATING STUFF
Spouse: …is there a reason you’re shouting so much?
Me: AM I
Spouse: you really are yeah
Me: GOSH I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY
Me: SEE WHAT I DID THERE
Me: I HAVE APHANTASIA AND I CAN’T VISUALIZE
Me: SO I SAID I CAN’T IMAGINE
Me: HEY DID YOU READ THE COMMENT SECTION OF THAT ARTICLE BY ANY CHANCE
Spouse: Oh, dear.
Me: YEAH IT’S GREAT YOU SHOULD TAKE A LOOK WHEN YOU HAVE A MINUTE
Spouse: Should I?
Me: OTHERWISE HOW WILL YOU KNOW IMPORTANT STUFF
Me (finally, blessedly lowering my voice) (but still sounding really ticked off): “I wonder if sociopaths are more likely to have aphantasia than non sociopaths are. It would fit, wouldn’t it?”
Me: No, no – I made that up.
Spouse (sighing): Oh, boy.
Me: What is WITH that guy? I can’t visualize, so I must be some conscience-free creep? How does THAT qualify as a logical leap?
Spouse: yeah people get some ridiculous ideas
Me: I mean, seriously! That friend of mine heard about aphantasia when the articles about it started coming out a few years ago and all of a sudden my feed is full of illness-as-metaphor nonsense like, “oh, yeah, I bet people who have aphantasia don’t support social safety-net programs. They can’t visualize, so they can’t imagine what it’s like to be someone else, so they don’t have empathy, so they’re big jerks.”
Spouse: To be fair, she didn’t know you were –
Me: I mean, here I am just minding my own business, taking care of the building, taking care of kids, taking care of animals, baking for friends, baking for family, just generally baking a LOT.
Me: Hey – since I bake so much, doesn’t that mean I’m sweet? I mean, I’m around all that SUGAR. That’s how it works, right?
Me: So anyway, here I am just going along thinking I’m kind of an okay person.
Me: And then –
Me: Turns out I’m a big screaming sociopath!
Spouse: I don’t think that’s –
Me: I reeeeally wish they hadn’t turned off the commenting on that article. I NEED to ask that guy some questions.
Spouse: Okay, maybe not such a great –
Me: “Gosh – am I a sociopath if I punch you and enjoy it, but I know I’m not supposed to enjoy it?”
Me: “Plus I’m 53 years old and I’ve never actually punched anyone and wouldn’t you think if I were a sociopath I’d have done SOMETHING interesting by now?”
Spouse: I think you’re just lazy.
Me: Gosh, thanks.
Me: Honestly, I don’t know which one’s more huggable: THIS guy, or the murderer who said in pretty much so many words, “Hey – I’m a white supremacist. Do NOT go around telling people I’m AUTISTIC. I don’t want them getting a bad impression of me.”
Me: Yeah, but that’s another blog post for another day.
4 thoughts on “Actually, I CAN Imagine”
You are awesome
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DD has aphantasia also, and she definitely has empathy. So now I’m wondering what it’s called when people assume things about people with aphantasia and they end up sounding like A**holes. Is there a word for that? I really wish there was.
Like you, I really, really shouldn’t ever read the comments sections of certain articles. *sigh*
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IKR? But to be fair, that moronic comment prompted a much funnier piece than the one I’d originally intended to write!