A few nights ago a friend and I were filling our tummies with glorious Italian food. Antipasti, a trio of mushrooms, cheese and herbs in a puff pastry. Long, thick strands of fresh, pungent parmesan cheese. Warm breads. Entrees of seafood linguini with plum-sized sundried tomatoes and spinach fettucine in a divinely deadly cream sauce. (Okay, I'll pause so you can wipe up the drool or run off for a snack). In between oohs and aahs I said, wouldn't it be horrible if we couldn't taste any of this? Imagine if we had no sense of taste, were either born without it or had somehow lost it. Sure, we'd fill up, but with little or no palatable pleasure. How miserable would that be, to eat delicious foods and not taste a single morsel? We agreed that would be terrible, not being able to enjoy food flavors, but also agreed that if we had never possessed the ability to taste we wouldn't know what we'd be missing. So I asked my friend, If you had to give up one of your senses, which one would it be?
Hearing, he answered. Yes, there would be no more music but he at least he knew what it sounds like, having lived as a hearing person his entire life. All the other senses he wouldn't want to be without. For me the answer was sight. Yes, loss of the sense of taste, touch, smell or hearing would be traumatic. No more tasting great food, no feeling silky kitty fur or smelling a loaf of French bread fresh out of the oven or experience the thrill of a Beethoven symphony. Losing those abilities after years of knowing them would be devastating, but at least I've known them. I have millions of wonderful memories because of those four senses.
But to lose my sight would be the most devastating to me. To not see the ocean, or wildlife, reading my classical piano music, seeing movies, sunrises, family and zillions of other visual pleasures would be so difficult, BUT at least I have the memory of what all those look like. Books, however, I would miss the most. All the books I couldn't read, unless I wanted to learn Braille, which I positively would. That could take more years than I have coming to me. And writing my own books - the challenge there would be immense. Not impossible, not these days with all the amazing electronics we have for computers, and again, I absolutely would go that route if I had no sight. But I would so miss reading words with my eyes, admiring book covers, writing and editing and judging writing contests.
(One of the things I had to add to my I'm Thankful For list on Thanksgiving - having all my senses intact and in working order!)
This conversation led me to thinking up so many character ideas, one of the things I love about What If and If You questions. Like a sterno can under a cold serving tray, they get a simmer going and then its up to me to get it to a boil.
So, how about you? If You had to give up one of your senses, which one would it be?