Thursday, July 10, 2008

For all you psych majors

I have been conducting my own personal Pavlovian investigation regarding a hard candy related incident. You know when people keep a pile of candy at their desk at the office for folks to enjoy? Well the administrative assistant at my office started doing just that a few months ago, and I had no idea why I'd feel so delighted everytime I tried one of the butterscotch candies. I got slightly addicted to them and I had a feeling I had had this candy before, but I just could not figure it out. It made me nuts. What was it that I felt everytime the butterscotch lapped up with my saliva in my mouth into apparently happy blocked out memories? It felt like repressed previous incarnation memories that they show on TV. For months this black hole in my memory bothered me. Then one day, as it usually is with these things, I suddenly remembered. Twenty years ago my family was visiting Lahore, Pakistan, for my dad's youngest sister's wedding. There I met one of my dad's maternal uncles. I've met him only that one trip, but it was sufficient for me to give him the name 'toffee waale dada' (the grandpa with the candy). A tall man with a white moustache, he'd be swarmed by children wherever he went because of his candy stash. He'd always, always, always have this delicious hard candy for the children. I remember it was as addictive as a drug. I'd never been able to find candy that tasted exactly the same until twenty years later in Tulsa, Okla-frikkin-homa.

So that's what it was. I'd forgotten the taste of the candy and only remembered the wonderful grandchildlike happiness it brought me at the age of 7. That feeling was triggered back into the foreground of my mind when I experienced the same taste again. What a completely involuntary reaction. I didn't even know why I was feeling what I was feeling. It's like my mind has a, well, mind of its own.

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