291: Listen To Your Mascara (Griggs & Chodosh)

                “There has started to be more demand from the U.S. for quieter, better sounding products.” -Rachael Pink, acoustic engineer at Dyson, in an article that discusses (among other things) how mascara bottles sound when they open

                “You know, I don’t think I have ever like listened to my mascara.”
                “But you have.
                -Mary Beth Griggs and Sara Chodosh on The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week

                So much of what’s going on I don’t understand. And there’s an interesting flipside—so much of what I do understand, or at least what I take in and act from, I use without noticing.
                There’s a board game called Spice Road which includes these little coins as make believe money. Lots of games have something like that, but Spice Road has the distinction of being the only one in my box o’ games that actually has metal coins. For a while, every time I taught the game to a new group, someone said, oh wow, these are nice. Then one time someone said, why do you associate heavy with nice. I could fumble for an explanation, something about solidly made or unlikely to break, but I think that’s in part missing the point. Heaviness comes up in that article with Rachael Pink, but it’s really “heaviness,” because you can fake it in all sorts of ways—the feel of a lighter sparking, the click of mascara closing. The same materials in different arrangements produce sounds that people describe as more reliable, or cheap.
                I’m not sure I can become conscious of all the different stimuli I’m taking in and letting direct me. I’d like to be more aware, sure. To look behind the curtain of why I think that and see all the strange reasons and whirring gears and sticky-bubble-gum-repairs that leave me repeating this is a nicely made boardgame. I’d like to keep a sense of humor about it. It’s funny how I sputter and turn. And I’d like to remember that I don’t know, that I’m often a puppet that doesn’t see its own strings. That leaves me ready to pause and listen when someone points out something I don’t understand.

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