Saturday, May 3, 2014

Speak Our Consciences in a Soft, Sharp Whisper

(Previously: Speak of it Only in a Soft, Sharp Whisper (September 2012), and Speak of it in a Soft, Sharp Whisper Some More (August 2013))

Two passing thoughts on the subject of meridian, or "ASMR", before I get to the meat of what's in my mind:

• I have never been terribly keen on describing the feeling of meridian as a "tingle". "Tingle", in my mind, suggests a sort of neutrally extraneous sensation — something like the strongly minty, lingering taste in one's mouth after using a good mouthwash. Meridian, I think, is better described as a euphoric PULSE or spasm. But, I suppose a two-word, four-or-five-syllable phrase is a bit awkward in casual conversation and YouTube comments, isn't it.....

• Although the sensation is more easily triggered on my right side — that is to say, the right side of my back, usually — it tends to be more strongly felt on the left side, once the left ear has heard enough for the sensation to sort of "break through". I guess my left needs to be "primed" a moment before it kicks into full gear. If the "video" to which I've meristurbated (for those who missed it in part two, link above, this original word means "indulged in meridian") has been sufficiently effective, I'll sometimes be unable to fully lean back into my chair without the euphoria in my left mid-lower back asserting itself, a full minute or two after the video has finished. Somehow, my right prefers it quick and immediate; it's yet to linger post-trigger the way it does on the left.

Now, then...

There's a quality, or a trend, I've noticed of late in my lonely, after-hours meridian pursuits, and it rather ties in with my personal politics, which I've revealed on this blog on a number of occasions. It is this: the videos that I'm finding provide the strongest and most effective triggers, and therefore the videos I'm pursuing and "favoriting", are the ones that are crystal clear and unfiltered — breaths go directly in the ear, so strongly that I can practically smell the ASMRtist's breath. Also, I can easily hear and know when they are moving from one ear to the other; they're not just staying totally in one place while they deliver a line or two.

Summarily: The videos that best simulate an actual person being with me, the viewer/listener, are the best.

Try this one on for sighs (sic). (Embedding disabled by request: Air Light - Inaudible, unintelligible binaural whisper 3D)

Despite the Zappa-esque artistic style where different recorded bits are repeated and overdubbed throughout the piece
(Zappa's "Freak Out" especially comes to mind on the grounds that I get meridian off "It Can't Happen Here", which has an up-close backup vocal in the right channel; "No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no, man you guys are gonna be SAFE, everything's COOL."), it is delightfully obvious that the recordings are done by an actual human being. (Not that some ASMRtists aren't human, mind you.) She audibly moves from directly in one ear, to more the back of the neck, closer back to the ear, then to the other ear, and so on. I smell her breath at certain junctures with P and K sounds; as poorly as our language puts names to scents, her breath is simply authentically human — not wholly foul, nor quite the aroma of a good meal freshly prepared in the kitchen — just simply human. Perhaps I remember the smell from somewhere in my past — a casual, unmemorable encounter in my far too numerous days of academia wherein I was in enough distance of a young girl speaking to catch a whiff. It's lively. And real. The combination of humanity, artistic endeavor, and, of course, super-effective meridian triggers, make this quite probably my all-time favorite "merideo" (ASMR video).

And so my political side flares up. Where are all the people in my life who would be willing to speak to me so intimately and closely? Our culture doesn't quite encourage that, does it? Occasionally, somewhat rarely, I feel meridian wholly by accident when being spoken to normally from about arm's length, as happened while I was receiving instruction on working with produce on the opening day of the discount grocery at which I'm working for about three more weeks until I move to greater Nashville. How did I manage to feel meridian in a joyous, happening atmosphere like that of a store's grand opening? I don't know. But, anomalies like that aside, nobody's exactly going out of their way to be in an intimate setting and tone with me, are they? And it's totally weird and un-American to sort of "nudge" anyone in that direction. Ideal meridian conditions do tend to lean toward the same kind of conditions that are often reserved for romantic endeavors — two people otherwise alone, in a close, quiet space. If I've ever been part of anyone's romantic endeavors, they have failed to tell me about it in all my nearly twenty-eight earth years.

I'm reminded all over again of how I'm completely alone and how our society seems to encourage that kind of thing. Get a steady job sitting at a desk all day. Drive to and from that job — the lone occupant in your vehicle. Squabble with your spouse, kids and parents at home; your connection is purely biological. Modern western culture, with all its endless flavors, passing technology and varieties, has pretty much fragmented us as people. We see too many differences between each of us for us to overcome them, and we don't make good connections anymore. At best, I get generally friendly people giving generally friendly greetings and offers on which they'll never follow through. We're just going through the motions, cogs in the machine, our teeth slowly eroding.

I wonder about the lives of the ASMRtists. The ASMRtist ranks are pretty well dominated by women — just an occasional male along the way — making videos in their own rooms or studios, with only themselves in them. What kind of families do they have? Are they romantically involved with anyone? They most all seem like they could easily sway a mate or two from the crowd, such kindly faces with sweet, soft voices. Do they often get to experience an actual live-action trigger from a human being in the same room? Will I get to meet anybody like this? ASMRtists are spread all over the globe. Air Light, who undoubtedly knows and understands the basic mechanics of meridian, is......Ukrainian, I believe....? I follow people in Russia, Deutschland, the UK, Australia, and probably some Americans, although that doesn't exactly narrow anything down. Is anyone near Nashville? Meet for a malt at Mike's some time?

I'm a lonely meridiot—
fringe and unfocused
a random poet
a runaway train
without a platform
a purple square
on a Rubik's Cube
a round peg
on an unstrung guitar
I got a
        way with words
a cat
in an open desert
I adapt to survive
but can I live?

Um.......what the hell just happened to me? All right, yeah. So, I think I may attempt to produce a piece of ASMRtwork for YouTube. I may just read this series of blog posts. My microphone is horribly cheap — and naked. Listen for breaths that pierce. And hopefully trigger. (I have, in the past, gotten meridian from my own voice on "Thirst (Ambrosia)". Is this okay?)

Swell Saturday, cyber citizens,
~C.A., from Chicago~


Nancyfrances said...

Brilliant. Esp. "I imagine .... eroding."

Stacy said...

I'm confused. What is the meridian or euphoria you are writing about, please?

Cheshire Adams said...

Hi Stacy! If you check Part One (the first link at the top of this post), that's kind of my "intro" post where I do my best to explain exactly what it is and what "triggers" it. I cannot guarantee that it will help completely, especially if your biology disallows the idiosyncratic phenomenon (thus you've never felt it, in which case I'm so sorry).

Not much is officially known about it; I guess only a certain subset of the population is susceptible to it, and that subset tends to not include many scientists or other people in positions of relative power. It's probably existed for centuries; only with the emergence of the internet and its cloak of pseudonymity are people actually talking about it.

The whole thing may come off as cultish. I do apologize for that. I'm simply hopeful that there are people who actually CAN feel it and simply haven't yet. (Personality types may be a factor; we really don't know.)

Breakfast time in Chicago. More later.....?


Stacy said...

Okay, reading part I helped a little bit.

There are many triggers for euphoria. Most recently I experienced it doing breathwork in a hot tub and cold plunge.

Mine are not generally auditory & not localized to my head. It's a full body thing. And you're possibly right that someone needs to be wired for it.


Cheshire Adams said...

Full body, yes, or at least portions at a time. For me, the feeling only occasionally goes down the limbs. Good times, though.

And, hi Nancy! Yeah, I suspect that if any paragraph in this piece resonates with people, that'll be the one. :+)~