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April 15, 2008

Talking to Myself


-photo of the work of a calligraphy class at Ghost Ranch

Do you talk to yourself?

Is talking to yourself a sign of intelligence or are you just plainly disturbed? Is there such a thing as plainly disturbed? And, how do you know when you talk to yourself that you aren't disturbed? Because in some instances, it's a sign.

Maybe you're actually highly intelligent and as a result, you need to talk to yourself to sort out all your incredibly brilliant thoughts. Ya. just keep telling yourself that.

Children talk to themselves all the time. It's great fun to listen to them.

I ask these questions, rhetorically, because lately, I notice as I'm walking around that more and more people on the streets are talking to themselves. Not street people per se but just people who are walking down the street. Some days are worse than others and at times, it's as if the entire West End of Vancouver is having a personal conversation out loud. It's as if they've let the robots out and they've all been misprogrammed. Or, maybe they're actually on the phone but I don't see their headphones in their ears and I mistakenly think they are talking to me, only to realize that they're not even looking at me.

I know I talk to myself. I talk to myself when I'm mad at myself or in the past when I've been particularly busy at work. People would come into my office and say, Are you talking to yourself again? And, I'd say, Yes. Of course. What's scary is that it seemed perfectly normal to me. In fact, when I stop talking to myself, when I'm completely quiet, that's when I really begin to get worried. I scare myself. It means I'm thinking way too much. And,that's always a dangerous thing.

The embarrassing part is when you don't know that you're talking to yourself and you're in the grocery store, looking at your list, picking at the wilted vegetables that look as if they've been grown in a test tube and you're having a running commentary about your grocery list with yourself and suddenly you realize someone is looking at you.

Or sometimes, you're driving and you're mad about something and you're having one of those two person, but there's only me in the car, monologues and you look beside you and you're being stared at by a cute little kid who's multitasking by picking his nose and watching you. Or worse yet, a cute guy. Watching you. Not picking his nose.

The scary part is when you're walking down the street and someone starts screaming obscenities because they appear to be suffering from some sort of mental illness in which they are having auditory hallucinations and in need of help and medication and they've come up behind you without warning. Your shoulders go up to your ears and you're just hoping they aren't carrying a hatchet raising it ready to strike a mere few feet behind you but you're too afraid to turn around and look.

There was a man with Tourettes Syndrome who used to wander around the West End and it was not unusual for him to come up behind people at a light while they waited to cross the street and suddenly start spewing a diatribe about the Nazis all the while pointing an accusatory finger emphasizing every syllable. The first time it happened to me I nearly had a heart attack. I wonder what happened to him?

If you start to carry around a little puppet or start acting like a ventriloquist then I'd say it's definitely reached a point of pathology. You might just want to nip that in the bud. Or, if you start to write speeches for yourself.

Otherwise, go for it. You might even learn something about yourself.

Like, for example, you might want to get more friends, you know, to talk to!

Were you saying something? I couldn't hear you. I was talking to myself.

And, as this post so clearly illustrates, I really have nothing to say tonight.

Some things really are best left unsaid. I'm sure you'd agree.

2 comments:

Michelle Evelyn Cook (aka Cookme) said...

Talking to oneself! I like this topic discussion. Have you considered that many of the folks out there talking to themselves, might actually be talking to things around them? I often find myself saying "good morning" to birds, cursing the curb for scuffing my new shoe, complementing particularly lovely trees and flowers out loud, not to mention whispering a few words of encouragement to the bruised, imperfect, past-their-prime fruits and veggies in the produce section that look like they may never get to fulfil their destiny of being eaten and enjoyed! Does this make me crazier than the folks just out there talking to themselves? Or maybe those folks have a whole non-human community they are communicating with???

Anonymous said...

You're scaring me!