Bringing the Text to Life
When Carol Crane was a child in first grade, she mystified her teacher and her classmates when she wondered aloud why the number five, displayed in a row of other numbers above the chalkboard was yellow, when it should be green.
Her question didn’t make sense and was vaguely disturbing. And Carol learned to keep her mouth shut about such things. She didn’t know then that there were others like her for whom the ringing of a doorbell resembled a series of triangles, or a dog bark seemed like a circle with dots around it.
Today, she knows that she is blessed or afflicted with synesthesia (sin-es-thee-sia), a condition that affects about 1 in 25,000 persons. Synesthetes tend to see sounds, smell colors and taste shapes. When a synesthete hears the sound of a truck backing up, making a beep-beep-beep sound, he or she might see the beeps as a series of red dots. In a string of numbers, the 5’s may be experienced as a different color from the 2’s. Circles smell different fromsquares, and sour ...