It’s physically unforgettable

There are many moments in my life I’m unable to forget.

Some are beautiful, like the magpie I once saw flying past a vibrant orange sunset, and the rays of light caught the white feathers in its wings and turned them to brilliant, glowing magic for the split second it was framed in the sky between silhouetted houses.

Some are profound and complex, like the time I first saw my Sis, in her smoky-brown cot in the hospital, next to my Mum’s bed. I remember being held up so I could peek over the top. She was wrapped in a pale blanket, her head facing to the left, eyes closed. Peaceful. New.

Some are perfect, like holding Niece in the sunshine, on holiday, as she slept, and feeling her soft, warm weight, the scent of her sun-screened skin, the gentle sound of her breath and the tickle of her hair on my neck as she flopped against me.

Some are horrific, like the fear and terror and agony of knowing that through my own stupid pride I was disposing of the remains of my Neverborn in the public bathroom of a chain sandwich store, while my clueless friends waited for me in the front…

Some are looming, their deadlines moving inexorably closer and I powerless to stop them or change the course of what will happen beyond the best of my abilities.

And one…one isn’t a memory or a thought at all.

It’s this one which intrigues and fascinates me.

It’s a physical reaction.

My WonderAunty (you remember her?) has this thing she does, where she reaches out with one forefinger, presses it gently to the tip of my nose and says “Merrrrp!”

And I smile. Every. Single. Time.

Even when I don’t want to. Even when I hate the whole world and everything in it. Even when I’m so upset I have to hide my nose so she just can’t reach…

But each time she gets me, my cheeks involuntarily stretch into a massive grin, and the corners of my eyes crinkle up and my mood lifts. From love, I assume.

I physically cannot stop this reaction.

It’s a bond forged in repetition, which goes right back into my babyhood, when, like Pavlov and his dog, she set up a wonderfully reinforced behaviour, and I am absolutely the study in human form.

No-one else in the world can do this (and believe me – they’ve tried! I’ve had my nose ‘merrrp’ed by lots of people, all hoping to elicit the same reaction; to no avail) – just her.

And as much as I’m intrigued and fascinated by the sense memory my very neurones and muscles hold for this interaction…I’m unable to think too long about it – I’m too busy grinning like a happy dolphin-baby…

Linking up with Michelle and Tamara for the Creative Buzz Hop

30 thoughts on “It’s physically unforgettable

  1. Awwww Tracie I'm glad you had someone who 'Bzzzzt'ed your nose 😀

    SO, tell me – as the only other person here (who has admitted to this) – was the smile voluntary or involuntary? Did it work when you were feeling grouchy? Am I the only conditioned one here?


  2. LOL! Well, you did incredibly very well to introduce us, and I'm hugely pleased you did – thank you. YAY! for being a treasure 😀

    And my nose is perfectly un-stuffy, thankyouverymuch! 😉


  3. Yay – I had a hand in introducing two of my favorites to one another! You and Tamara are both treasures. I could totally meerp you right now, but with it being cold season and all I'm steering clear of other peoples noses…


  4. Awww thanks so much Tamara 🙂 That's incredibly sweet of you to say so – and I'm now smiling like a happy dolphin-baby out of happiness 😀

    And yes – it's incredible! It's a really REALLY strongly conditioned response, and I think everyone should try to program their children with it 😉 It helps so much!


  5. She so, SO is. I love her to pieces, even when she makes me smile when I'd rather not!

    And yes – lots of people HAVE tried, but not all at once. And it's always funny and never works 😀


  6. Ohhh bless your heart! Thank you. I really do try to make things not overwhelmingly desperate, and this post was the perfect antidote to my mood yesterday 🙂

    And alright, I smiled at your 'Merrrp!'



  7. Lizzi, you and your way with words. I just discovered you last week from Dana and now I feel like I've found treasure.
    A way to smile (like a happy dolphin baby, no less) when you hate the world and everything in it?
    Well that's big.


  8. Ah, that WonderAunty is just plain marvelous.
    I was smiling as I read about this thing your aunt does, but I laughed when you said lots of people have tried. I can just picture a bunch of people taking turns pressing your nose and merrrping.


  9. Nothing in the world quite so wonderful as an Aunty you're close with (and hey, at least ONE of yours seems to wear her vegetables at the dinner table – what's not to love?) 🙂

    You're welcome for the thoughts 🙂


  10. Sounds like you truly have a wonderful bond and relationship with your aunt. I would say totally something to be thankful for and then some. Loved hearing about it and it is infectious,because totally put a smile on my face just reading about it! 🙂


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