Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Other Side of Perception

Hello lovely subscribers. This is Salvic, bringing you another look into the minds of the past. I have a very nice treat for you this time, but as always, you will have to contain your enthusiasm long enough for our Q&A and a few announcements. First off, I would like to thank those of you that attempted my music challenge last time. The band was Incubus, and the song was called Privilege. The user Jaspendable was the first to give me the correct answer and a line from the song. You can expect the mental album to be available to you, probably by the time you read these words. Now, I had a question from the member Riots4Sale: “Dear Salvic, if you had to choose between being paralyzed or never being able to access the net again, which would it be and why?” Well... that is quite a question; so, I figured I’d give it a response. I would have to choose being paralyzed. For those of you that have been with me for awhile, you know that I grew up on the net and to me, if it was removed from my life, it would be as bad as losing a sense like sight or smell. Besides, as advanced as VR is becoming nowadays, I wouldn’t be surprised if within my lifetime, we were all hooked up to VR, lying in a bed being taken care of by machines in the first place. Why would I need to be able to move? It seems that UtopiaDreamer has left us yet another suggestion for next time. Unfortunately Utopia, I again will have to deny your request. Although the Twilight series is marginally better than your last suggestion, it still is not quite as old as I’m looking for. I am also looking for stories that will not take quite as much time to cover, (I’m a rather busy man) and I’m also looking for stories that have a bit more... let us call it literary merit. Again, as one of my most loyal fans that keeps submitting request after request, just to be turned down, I encourage you to keep submitting them. It seems as if you will do so no matter how many times I shrug off the recommendations. So, why not smile and encourage?

Okay, okay, I know that you are all antsy for the story that I reviewed in VR this time. I told you that it was a treat and man do I mean it. This trip takes us to a story called the “Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and recommended to be my the user CelengylSword. Basically, the thing that caught my interest was the viewpoints that I could assume. I had two options, which is usually not very many, but I could be either the woman in the room, or the woman in the wallpaper. I looked up the story’s synopsis, and from what I can tell, the original story is about a woman that is struggling with a mental problem that her husband/doctor called a nervous depression and is spending the summer on vacation in a grand, aristocratic looking house. She has been confined to her room to rest and relax. Being there alone, she eventually goes crazy, believing that a woman is trapped behind the wallpaper and is trying to escape. Now... I have been through VR nodules looking through the eyes of inanimate objects or animals before, but never before have I gotten the opportunity to look through the eyes of one of the characters’ delusional fantasies. I thought that the journey would be an interesting one and so I chose that view, got my usual snack that I managed not to touch throughout the captivating nodule, and experienced an experience that I can safely say was a first. I chose to take the thought option as well, meaning that I would think and feel the emotions of the eyes I was looking through. I don’t know if I will do so again with such a twisted form of a story... It was quite real... too real.

It started out as a winter retreat. I was happy and content with my life. I had a husband; (odd when you are a heterosexual male, but I digress) I had friends and a loving family. My husband felt that he needed a vacation from his job as a mortician. He needed some time away because his narcolepsy was acting up. He would fall asleep anywhere and there was no sense waking him. Relaxation usually did him a world of good. When we got to the house that he bought the summer before for just this reason, I couldn’t help but think about what a dump it was. The house was rather small, very modern, but it was unfinished. It had almost no courtyard to speak of, and the room that I was going to be staying in had bare, wood-plank walls. Leaning against the wall in the corner next to the window were several rolls of wallpaper. Me being me, I was bored as could be in the tiny house secluded from the world. My husband suggested that I could put the wallpaper up if I got bored. He pointed out to me that he would likely just be in the way if he were to fall asleep while helping me, and we agreed that if I were to get bored enough, I would do it myself and find joy in it. I quickly got to that point and so unrolled the wallpaper to see a beautiful and organized design. Carefully, I started to put the wallpaper up, admiring the design of it as I went. The pattern was enticing, friendly and the yellow color was so warm. Immediately I felt a sense of joy just being around the paper.

The days came and went. When I would get bored, I would put up another section of wallpaper until finally, the job was done and I was left with nothing to do but admire my work. Gradually the pattern started to change. It was a subtle difference at the start, an entropy of some sort started to feather the once crisp edges of the design. I thought that I was just seeing things, but the more I studied the pattern, the more I was sure that it was changing. Here a piece would move, a crisp outline of a woman would morph into a melted sculpture overnight. Where I would see clear eyes before, blurry dots would stare back at me. I felt like the wall was melting around me and I was trapped, transfixed, my eyes glued to the mess that was being crafted from perfection.

For days on end I stared at it, watching something that I once loved become something that I neither understood, nor particularly liked. Gradually, a hatred started festering in my heart. The pattern that looked to me like a woman had become a hideous monster, reaching for me, daring me to step closer. I knew that it was just paper, and under it was nothing more than the remnants of a long dead tree turned into building material; but at the same time, I felt with every fiber of my being that the paper needed to be destroyed or else the thing inside would escape.

At this point readers, I was scared. Never before had I taken a thought option, but I felt that you guys (and gals) deserved a show. The character in this version of the story was terrified and so I, too, felt the same way. If I could describe the malevolence the paper had to you, I would; just know that it felt like everything wrong in the world rolled into a ball and put out for display.

One day, I had enough. I conquered my fear and the paper was going to be destroyed. Piece by stubborn piece I ripped it off the wall, discarding the evil that it was. The monster on the other side was trying to get to me but when I saw it coming, I would creep to another part of the room and start again there. I swear, I wore a groove in the wallpaper from my incessant creeping, but I had to stay away from the monster in the wall. Suddenly the monster was upon me, tearing at the paper from the other side; somehow... I fell through. Full of fear, I found myself kneeling there with a rope in my hand. I heard the door to the new room I was in burst open. My husband was standing there, looked at me, and fell to the ground asleep. I knew that if I did not keep creeping around the room, that the monster would find the hole that we fell into and follow me back through. I crept around and around, crawling over my husband every few minutes. He always was in the way.

Snapped back to reality in the sudden way that the current VR does (it seems like they could make the spiral down into reality a little less harsh, but what do I know?), I found my heartbeat racing and sweat soaking my shirt. The danger was so real; the monster was right there. I knew that I was in VR, I knew that nothing could actually hurt me; however, you find, even in the real world, that your mind is much stronger than reality. I went ahead and experienced the VR nodule with the emotions turned off, and I watched the original version. It really hit me how different the outlook was between the two characters when it came to the same wallpaper. What one person finds beautiful, another finds ugly. It really brings to light the fact that we are all unique in our tastes. It might be something to consider the next time that you want to criticize someone for the clothes that they wear, or the color sub-thermal that they decide to light that day. What makes you think that your opinion is any better than any other persons opinion? With that I will leave you with another song. If you are interested in the next mental album, go back and find the underlined letters again. I hope that you enjoyed this adventure, remember to consider the views of others as just as valid as your own. This has been Salvic Rodvic and I'm out.

1 comment:

  1. I also blogged about the Yellow Wallpaper. It was very different.