Sunday, July 29, 2007

Textile-Induced Vertigo

When I lived in Kansas City, there was an old movie theatre there - which, I believe, has since closed down - whose carpet gave me vertigo. I only visited the place once, and that was a big part of the reason I never returned.

At that time, nothing like that had ever happened to me before. It was a totally new sensation, but not one I cared to explore further.

It's hard to explain, or even guess, why this happened. But the carpet had a multi-colored pattern in it, all abstract shapes that somehow suggested a kind of perspective. Every time I found the pattern of that carpet within my field of vision, I suddenly knew that I had seconds to sit down in order to avoid falling down.

Fortunately there were benches along the foyer of this theatre, and inside the auditorium it was too dark to see the carpet. Between benches in the foyer, I had to choose between walking around with my eyes closed, staring straight up at the ceiling, or using my hands to shield myself from the sight of the carpet. I did a little of each, to keep it interesting. People around me must have thought I was totally nuts.

Last summer, my mother bought me a shirt that has a similar effect on me. And as a cheapskate (when it comes to clothes), I don't throw away a perfectly good shirt until it is more hole than garment. Nevertheless, I have to be careful not to wear that shirt to work or in other contexts where I need to concentrate. When I do wear it, I try not to catch a glimpse of myself (shoulders, upper arms, etc.), even out of the corner of my eye. Especially out of the corner of my eye. The pattern of tiny light-blue and dark-blue checks makes my eyes swim. Or rather, the pattern itself swims around, making me feel dizzy and, at times, nauseous.

Am I absolutely alone in suffering from fabric-induced vertigo? If not, there's some poor clothing designer out there who is seriously in need of some constructive feedback. Such as: "Dude, your fabric pattern totally makes me sick. I mean literally - violently ill, dude. You must be stopped."

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