Monday, 5 December 2011

Strangely pleasant

Now here's a challenge. I quite often write a bit of a blog post when an idea occurs to me, then fill it in later. Thanks to Blogger's mobile app, I can do this anywhere, tapping it in on my phone. So I'll write a title and a couple of lines of text that summarize the idea, then fill in the details later.

This particular post started that way, but with a difference. All I wrote was the title. And I can't for the life of me remember what it was supposed to be about.

It certainly wasn't about the sensation you get when you pull a piece of dry skin off yourself, though I do find this strangely pleasant. (I still remember when, age 10, I broke my arm and after the plaster came off the entire arm was covered in dry skin. Heaven.)

Nor was it about the slightly related pleasure that comes from an unopened jar of instant coffee. You take off the lid and there underneath is that pristine seal, waiting to be broken through. For some reason I remember discussing this with someone I used to work with at British Airways (I don't suppose you remember, Sue), well over 20 years ago. We both agreed about the pleasure, but then discovered it was from a totally different action. Mine was to run the end of a spoon around the edge, crisply slitting it open. Hers was to attack it with a spoon, bashing dramatically through. (Freudians have a field day. But remember psychoanalysis has no scientific basis.)

So what did it concern? Junk food? The peace that sometimes unexpectedly turns up during the day? Cadbury's Whole Nut? I really have no idea. Perhaps you have some thoughts...


  1. Actually, I'd be surprised if it was about junk food, inner peace, or chocolate. Because none of that is strangely pleasant - they've got scientific explanations, of sorts. Dopamine receptors and whatnot.

    Maybe it was about psychoanalysis? Because scientific basis or not (and honestly, anything as complex as the various dysfunctions of the human mind - as opposed to the human brain, that is - is likely to defy scientific explanation for a long time, especially as proper scientific experiments are both troublesome from an ethical viewpoint and from the viewpoint of trying to maintain the "double-blind" criterion), fact is, some people do feel better afterwards.

    You can chalk that up to placebo, if you like, but that doesn't even get you out of the frying pan :)

  2. Strangely pleasant was coming across your blog and reading about something that struck so many chords, all about strangely pleasant somethings.

    I loved the bit about the pristine seal under the jar of a newly opened jar of instant coffee. Until this moment, I didn't think anyone else thought about it and got the same thrill when opening it. I don't know what it says about me, but I attack the seal with a spoon (and some relish).

    Strangely pleasant indeed.

  3. Contemplating goose pimples in a hot bath and thinking, 'brain fooled again'?
    Mmm... that coffee jar moment. The twanging tension in the seal had something to do with it for me.

  4. Pelotard - almost by definition all 'strangely pleasant' things probably have a scientific explanation, but it doesn't stop them being strangely pleasant at the time.

    Thanks, Ronald - glad it had a positive effect.

    I've never tried fish pedicure, but it would certainly be strange if it is pleasant.

    John T - the goose pimples are interesting. Hadn't thought about those...