You talkin’ to me?

There’s no-one else here, so who do you think I’m talking to?  I’ve begun talking to myself and I’ve no idea when it started.  “What have I come upstairs for?”  Out loud and often without knowing that I’m doing it.  Did it come with my grey hair, the wrinkles, or expanding waistline?  Kids do it without embarrassment all of the time, they even have imaginary friends, but at my age?  No, what I do is furtively look around me wondering if anyone heard me.

It doesn’t help that another of my signs of old age is that I have become very deaf and I’m not sure how loud I am speaking.  Perhaps if I lived alone it would make more sense, but I don’t, I live with my very understanding wife.  She is quite used to being asked if she has moved my watch/reading glasses etc. But now it’s me that I am speaking to.

The more I write my web logs to keep this old brain ticking over and I research a subject or recall something from my past for a story, I find myself chatting to myself and suddenly realise that I’m chatting loud and I’m guiltily looking around to make sure that I’m alone.

Oh my Lord, where do I go from here?  Will I find myself dressed in Salvation Army couture pushing a stolen Waitrose trolley along the street as I hold loud, dribbling conversations with myself?  Should I get myself a dog that can act as a ‘beard’ to hide behind?  Nah! I’m a cat person and my cat always knew that I was weird.  He was also totally irreplaceable.  Sometimes now that he is no longer with us I find myself chatting to him.  I just hope that no-one hears my conversations.

Talking to yourself is supposed to be a bad sign.  What about hearing voices. Also bad, talking to yourself suggests a mild neurosis or perhaps improper socialization. Hearing voices in your head talk back to you? Now we’re talking psychosis.  Me? I talk to people that aren’t there.  They talk back. Of course they talk back. What do you think I am, the sort of fool who’d waste time talking to people who don’t answer?  Please!

Sometimes they’re conversations I really need to have with real people, sometimes they’re scenes from stories I’m going to write, or that I’m writing right now.  So I don’t tell my mind to run. I just let it play.  So far, it hasn’t complained.  I talk to myself a lot. And I don’t mean only in the privacy of my own home. I talk to myself while I’m walking down the street, when I’m at my office computer or even when I’m shopping.

Thinking out loud helps me materialize what I’m thinking about. So I’ve done a little research to help me make sense of things, it may even help to convince my friends that even though it might make me look insane, I’m not really.  Talking to one’s self, it turns out, is a sign of genius.  The smartest people on earth talk to themselves. Look at the inner monologues of the greatest thinkers. Look at poetry! Look at history!

Albert Einstein talked to himself. He wasn’t an avid social butterfly when he was growing up, and he preferred to keep to himself, he used to repeat his sentences to himself softly.  So, you see? I’m not alone, and I’m not completely bonkers. I’m just really smart. Ha!

This morning, fortunately sitting alone in the sauna at the gym, I once again caught myself talking to myself out loud as I was planning my day – I stopped the conversation as soon as I realised that I was doing it again.  Then I said to myself, out loud, “Bugger it! I’m old and I’m entitled to be a bit eccentric – I’m off to see the Wizard. . . . . . . . . .

About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.

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