Lately I’ve experienced a sensation while brushing my teeth at night that is a lot like deja vu, but not quite deja vu.
Deja vu in French literally means “already seen.” It’s that strange feeling that you are experiencing or seeing something again that you have at some point experienced or seen before, but you can’t quite place when or where. And there is usually a certain degree of “But I couldn’t have possibly seen this before!” that makes the feeling tinged with the uncanny.
But that’s not what I’ve been feeling. What I’ve been feeling is a sensation of “just seen”, or maybe je viens de le voir. And this feeling has been happening when I start to brush my teeth.
It’s not the same as trying to remember if you’ve taken your daily vitamin today or trying to remember if you’ve paid the electricity bill that month (although I experience that absent mindedness too). This is more like a proximity of memory of an event that you know happened the previous day. In the moment I start brushing my teeth, instead of most closely feeling the string of memories that led me to be brushing my teeth in the bathroom (arriving home, taking my clothes off, walking to the bathroom) I instead most closely feel the string of memories of brushing my teeth previously (brushing my teeth Tuesday, brushing my teeth Wednesday, brushing my teeth Thursday).
Visually, we could represent it this way:
Normally, I remember the string of events of my daily routine:
On any given day, what I am assuming is that, for example, if I were at point E, I would most closely feel point D.
Next, we could stack, say, five days together like this:
- A A A
- B B B
- C C C
- D D D
- E E E
What I’ve been feeling like is that when at point E (brushing my teeth Monday), instead of feeling closest to point D (walking into the bathroom Monday) what I feel closest to is point E in a different column (brushing my teeth Tuesday). So in my crude table, you might say where I expect to feel vertical or column affinity, I’m feeling horizontal or row affinity.
It happens at various points throughout the day, but most vividly when brushing my teeth.
A shorter way to put this is that I’m experiencing something like what I imagine the Tralfamadorian concept of time to be.
Anybody else every feel that?