«When you first enter a madhouse as an inmate, your learn to fear the sounds: dreams rumble and rattle across the corridors. Giant birds kept in tiny cupboards shriek senselessly. Even the silence is loud when your mind has faltered and turned against itself. But soon, these sounds become your new world. So much so that you fear to ever leave it: when you are picked up by your family for the weekend, anything will unnerve you—the bark of a dog, a whimpering of a child, the pure ringing of a bell. Even the rustle of a skirt over the leg of a woman will stir you and make you crazy. You’ll feel forced to interpret these sounds which seem regular to your kin and to prove to them that they in fact are the mad ones. All crazies are like that, except perhaps those who were born stone deaf. Their fantasies hold no sound: to them, people who speak just move their lips like animals licking the air with tied tongues. Anything that falls to the floor in their world falls like a feather, toneless, as if they lived on a planet without atmosphere, a muted asteroid. Only the deaf idiots can stand the clattering of coffee dishes and cake spoons on the family afternoon table. They smile upon the loony sizzling of the Sunday roast in the oven. When they’re overwhelmed they simply close their eyes.»
Also in: An Aotearoa Affair, Carnival 4: “Flash Across Borders”; Deutsche Version: “Im Irrenhaus“. Image: Goya, Loco tras las rejas (1824).