Hi there. How are you? I like your hair today. Do you like mine?
Don’t answer those questions. I wasn’t talking to you.
Sometimes I think I might be losing my mind.
This will come as a shock to most of you. I know you’ve always considered me the very height of emotional and spiritual well-being, but the signs are all there.
The signs being that I talk to myself a lot. I mean, a WHOLE lot. Even now, as I write this riveting revelation, I’m sounding out each word as though reading a slow-motion sonnet to myself.
Is that weird?
Don’t answer that, either. Of COURSE it’s weird. It’s also weird how ceaselessly I carry on this outer dialogue every time I’m on my motorcycle, whether I’m buzzing down the avenues or splashing along a deep-woods trail.
“Boy, nice day for a ride,” I’ll say.
“Sure is. Hey, didn’t there used to be a bridge right there?”
“Ouch. We’re hurt.”
“Sure are. Someone’s going to have to remove that stick.”
You think I’m exaggerating. Pay attention the next time you see me wheeling through your neighborhood, which I do all the time, whether you know it or not. If I’m not singing to myself — loudly and badly, like Mariah Carey with a thorn in her eye — then I’m narrating every inch of my downtown travels.
“Lot of people out here today. Wonder why they’re all looking at me like that.”
“Holy crap, look out for that squirrel!”
“Do you think I’d look good with a mustache?”
I talk to myself when I’m at my newsroom desk to the point where I worry that I’ll spill deeply personal secrets. I talk to myself when I’m in the car and other drivers think I’m telling them off.
In the grocery store with an armful of crap, I’ll berate myself for not grabbing a basket on the way in and other customers will scoop up their children and scurry to the far side of the aisle. Me, myself and I get a kick out of that.
“Boy, did you see that lady take off? She was at a full-on sprint.”
“Yes, you really must stop talking to yourself so much.”
“Yes, I must.”
“Don’t forget the toilet paper.”
It’s a curious thing. We tend to believe that people who talk to themselves are lonely, deranged introverts who live in tiny shacks with their many make-believe friends. But I’m not lonely. If anything, I have too many people to talk to during the course of my day. Those people don’t get me. They don’t understand my jokes the way I do. They don’t appreciate my Mariah-Carey-With-a-Thorn-in-Her-Eye falsetto the way my inner voice does. You people who reside on the outside of my head are just craaaazy.
Which leads to an interesting point. Look up “talking to myself” on the Internet and you will find a weird variety of findings.
“The early signs of schizophrenia!” warns one.
“Talking to yourself makes your brain work more efficiently,” argues another.
“Borderline personality disorder!” cautions a third headline.
“People who talk to themselves are smarter,” scoffs a fourth.
We think it’s just awesome and we’re not going to worry about it much. In fact, we’ll discuss it in rational tones on a leisurely ride downtown. I just hope it doesn’t turn into another bitter argument.
“You know, you really shouldn’t discuss these kinds of matters in a public forum.”
“Oh, shut up, you meddlesome dork. You don’t know me.”
That’s usually when we start singing.
Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. You can analyze his personality at firstname.lastname@example.org.