They call me Apper Acha, I am an Apperceptive Achatina.
I can’t remember which came first: the apperception or the mirrors. My strong suit is my ability to think exclusively about myself reflectively from many angles. Perhaps the ADHD makes it just too hard to count the mirrors; I never quite get past three without seeing myself from a new angle, and I start drifting. The professionals diagnose me as having severe apperception; my wife simply thinks I’m a narcissist.
Wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor mirrors cover my bedroom. This morning, like all mornings, I wake up to my un-set inner alarm clock, never sure if I’ve slept enough to face my mirrors. I slip out of my bed and slide to the top of my mirrored staircase, slipidy slide down to my mirrored living room, boot up my chrome plated computer and continue my slip-slide to the kitchen and fill my polished stainless steel kettle with water for my coffee.
My desktop blinks on, I click on National Public Radio's low tide, top of the morning Quodlibetical Quahog Moments with my make believe best friends - the Chatty Clams.
Whistling prompts the pouring of the boiling water into the French press. I rest my chin on the plunger and lean my way into a fresh column of coffee, slowly sipping and listening to whatever the Clam’s take is on what’s important in the world today.
Having caught my reflection in the highly polished stainless steel refrigerator, I started thinking about myself as the Clam’s voice filled the ambient space* in my head.
“On a more serious note…”
The Clam’s solemn tenor jolted me from my inner journey.
The radio tolls.
The veil lifts.
Serious news from the Clam, and if you’re a snail — potentially grave news.
The well known and well-ignored extinction of the global frog population is now in full swing in our backyards. Ipso facto the bug population growth has gone past exponential increase and is racing towards biblical plague. Reports are coming in from parents that kids are no longer catching frogs. Sadly when interviewed on the topic, five-year-olds have been heard to say, “What is a frog?”
Being an extremely me-centric Achatina, my first thought was the paranoiac assumption that if kids can no longer find frogs, snails gotta be on the short list... but for what? Or should I say, but when?
Maybe it wasn’t something I said after all. Maybe Froggie wasn't just getting itchy from all my introspection. Maybe I should have tried to listen when he started complaining about his skin feeling like it was on fire. Maybe I should have paid more attention than just wondering if the sound of my voice was making his skin crawl. I can't stand hearing myself say it, but maybe my Froggie croaked.
Loading the toaster with Wonder Bread, I think "I don't feel itchy" as I lose myself in my parabolic chromium reflection.
Two minutes till toast.
Do not ask for whom the radio tolls.
It tolls for thee.
*Ambient Space In mathematics, especially in geometry and topology*, an ambient space is a space surrounding a mathematical object.
*Topology n. The study of geometric properties and spatial relations unaffected by the continuous change of shape or size of figures.