It happened again today. I woke up and it was light out, so I assumed it must be time to get up. Then I looked at the clock and it was 4:30 am. That’s just not right. My whole life, the sun has never risen at such an ungodly hour. That’s because I’ve never lived this far from the equator before. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to live in Alaska, the land of the midnight sun. As I’ve done every morning this summer, I covered my eyes with a pillow and tried to get back to sleep.
If there’s not a word for this sensation, there ought to be. That feeling that the basic, fundamental rules of nature are being violated. That sense of “Not Normal.” I bet there’s a Germanic term for it. Or a French one.
I’ll probably feel it again when I experience my first real earthquake. The ground is not supposed to shift beneath one’s feet. When that starts happening, what can you count on?
I felt it when I woke up one morning this past winter to find everything covered in snow. I hadn’t seen snow in 30 years. The world was suddenly otherworldly.
It happens when you bite into something you expect to be savory and it turns out to be sweet, or vice versa. It happens when someone reacts completely the opposite of what you anticipated. It happens when someone does a violent act that you can’t imagine doing in your worst nightmare.
We all live by certain assumptions and expectations that really don’t hold up on close examination. These deeply held beliefs are what give us a sense of security. Most of us prefer to be able to predict our world. It’s weird to think that all of that is an illusion.