One Post-Holiday Perception
by Kathy Coogan
Christmas Eve. Two people enter a room together. A photograph taken at that instant would record the following scene.
A room filled with people—family people, wearing rhinestones or red vests or sweatshirts with funny, festive or suggestive slogans. Sparkly lights show off on several trees. Presents are stacked and scattered. On the giant screen a mock-fire burns.
Food - vast amounts of it - fills tables and counters suggesting aromas that mingle like the Ghost of Christmases Past, Present and Future. Bottles stand opened or ready to be opened on a sideboard already sticky with a few spills. The beverage assortment is reflective of the crowd: sugary, diet, caffeine-free, totally free, wine, beer - alcoholic and non, water - plain, fizzy, flavored. Plastic cups and a Sharpie pen to mark your cup are there too.
Unknown to the two people, in a nano-second of time, spontaneously, automatically, sneakily, separately, in each of them, perception begins to tinker with the scene, the scene just described. Perception captures the scene and travels with it from the innocent senses of Sight, Sound and Smell to the dangerous Brain, the laboratory where the scene is assessed, adjusted and altered.
The Mind assembles the data and runs the tape of the scene at super-high-speed, then invites Memory in to participate in the editing. Memory, an unreliable asset in the lab, overlaps smudgy outdated negatives with newer high-def images, causing the scene to shimmer or darken. The Mind is temporarily shut down by a glitch in the lab, caused by Metabolism overheating. Chemistry works to rebalance the system.
After the passing of the nano-second, the two people blink and Perception delivers the scene back to each of them, individually, to the forefront of their senses. But the scene is now altered by Mind, Memory, Metabolism and Chemistry into two different scenes.
The two people, a couple not connected by blood but by choice, look into the room then at one other. One inhales deeply and sighs thinking, "Here we go again, same Christmas, different year." The other one thinks, "We are so lucky!" One squeezes tha hand of the other acknowledging their differences but appreciating their bond. They plunge into the room together and the scene evolves. Once again, Mind and Memory record the data and Perspective waits to deliver it.
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