Sensory Postcard: Five Elements

Just another observation of the clash of visual and sonic contexts that makes me realize how much I (we) am driven by the visual atmosphere of specific environments and that actually clashes with the holistic sensory experience of being there. I went to this favourite Vietnamese joint intending to chill, have lunch and do some writing in the (what I thought would be) relaxing atmosphere of weekday mellowness. The building, which for years used to be Tony’s – an italian deli – has high ceilings and being on the corner, is airy and spacious. A bit of a departure from typical Vietnamese restaurants, which are the opposite of airy and spacious – crammed, stuffy, richly odorous and loud. So because of the other sensory factors – air, space, visual minimalism, lack of crowdedness, I sort of assumed also a relaxing and quiet place to work. As soon as I actually pulled out my computer, my auditory sense sort of awakened and I realized it was SO far from quiet there! In addition to noisy construction jackhammer happening right on the opposite corner of this place, they had an industrial fan running by the back door, a few tables away from me, and the refrigerator housing a selection of gelato was whirring on the other side. The result was a kind of white noise droning cacophony completely not conducive to working. So there we go, it’s like sometimes some of our sense hoodwink the others and only when/if we come up to the necessity of particular environment, do we come into fuller awareness.

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