Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Apperception - Part 3 of 4


Continued from Part 2

Dr. Lumeise, thin, birdlike and wanting to chat about how lovely Canada was but explaining how she still missed her home in Bordeaux, assured me that my headaches were most likely referred pain from an incident a few months earlier (I had slipped on an icy patch of road and fallen jaw-first into a car’s bumper). Her exam revealed no signs of my having experienced a Transient Ischemic Attack. I was given the option of having an MRI to check things out thoroughly, but barring genuine signs of distress I would have to wait several weeks for an appointment.

I declined the opportunity, thanked her for her time and went about my business. I was far less concerned about chatting with the dead after receiving a clear bill of health (physically, at least) and was comfortable in chalking up the entire experience to an episode of something entirely explainable that I simply didn’t have the time or wherewithal to examine.

An hallucinatory response to mild food poisoning, perhaps.That was Scrooge’s first response to Jacob Marley’s ghost in Dickens’ chestnut. I might have stared Pleasance in his (non-existent, mostly) eye and quoted Dickens gleefully, shouting “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato… more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” and while it would have been melodramatic, it would have been no less insane than our chat about movies and what it was like to be dead/undead.

I tried (and failed) to disregard everything Pleasance had told me, assuming that the dead can’t be trusted and to try and establish what was valid or invalid in anything we discussed was pointless. I didn’t talk to my wife about it for fear of worrying her (and admitting to myself it had happened).

I fought off all impulses to speak to a psychiatrist. I leaned instead on my extensive knowledge of abnormal psychology (collected from two University courses and a lifetime of TV and movies) to determine that his 'I’m incidental' remark was a manifestation of my unconscious, a part of my brain that was unable to explain exactly why a long-deceased actor would materialize on the subway.

Thus, one part of my brain refused to provide answers (or conjecture) when a different part of my brain was compelled by malfunction to have conjured him up in the first place.

I also convinced myelf that If I was sane enough to determine that Pleasance’s presence was impossible, then I was therefore entirely sane because to accept it as possible in any meaningful would have been crazy.

I disliked the experience. More than that, I resented the experience. It was trivial. It ignored a wide variety of people I would have enjoyed having a few words with in place of Pleasance. My father, first and foremost, who I’m sure was too drugged and incoherent to have heard me whisper goodbye before dying from cancer a decade before.

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