When I’m tired I can sleep through a herd of elephants but, let my child cough in their room down the hall and BAM – my eyes spring open. Let me hear that tale-tell sign of throwing up and I’m on my feet and down the hall like I had been waiting for that all night and not enjoying some wild, fanciful dream.
It’s crazy, when I think about it, how before I had my first son, nearly 7 years ago, I would have never thought it possible that I could be attended to something so small as a cough. Sure, I’ve heard about the ‘instinct’ that people talk about and I’ve even imagined what it would actually feel like, but there are some things in life that need to be experienced for a person to truly understand. That being said, I may have a character who’s psychotic, but this doesn’t mean that I’m going to throw myself off the deep end. I think all my voices would kill me if that happened.
Ahem, as I was saying.
Maybe I have acute selected hearing. There are time someone can be standing next to me and I won’t hear a word they are saying, but I will pick up on something across the room. It must be my ear operators. Leaning back in their chairs behind my eardrums, drinking coffee and watching the latest show, all the while listening out for key sounds – like children’s coughing. When one of those key sounds makes its way into the ear, these little workers decide whether or not to let it through. Perhaps they have a master list of key words and praises, given to the directly from the workers up at the brain, of prioritized sounds.
Alert! Alert! Prioritized sound coming through!
Then, one of the workers takes that sound and ships it off to the brain so the other systems can move into action. This may all seem like milliseconds to us, but time runs at a different pace inside my head.
So now I’ll try to go back to sleep, let the people in my head get back to watching the dream channel and keeping alert for those sounds. Good work, guys, good work.