Friday, April 19, 2024

Talking to yourself is either a sign of intelligence or mental instability

A few minutes ago I walked past a co-worker who was mumbling under his breath. I asked, "Are you talking to yourself?" And he replied, "Well, I'm the only one who will listen!"

On the spectrum of Corny Office Small Talk, this ranks right up there with "Working hard? Hardly working!" and "Thank God it's Friday, huh?"

But there is also some truth to it.

I talk to myself a lot.

A. Lot.

To the point that I'm fairly certain I say more words out loud to myself each day than I do to Terry or anyone else in the world.

People will walk past my closed office door, peek in and see my mouth moving, and assume I'm in a Teams meeting or on a call. They will make that thumb-and-pinky-extended-near-the-ear gesture, which is of course the universal request to "Call me!"

This will momentarily confuse me until I realize what's going on, and usually I wave for them to come into my office. When they do, I explain, "Sorry, I was just telling myself I need to remember to write that organizational announcement email today!"

They will then look at me uneasily with an expression that suggests, "Wow, I had no idea Scott was insane."

I talk through virtually everything with myself. And rarely are these conversations silent and internal. They are almost always broadcast loudly to anyone who happens to be nearby.

This is OK when I'm driving and loudly saying to myself, "I think I need to turn left up here, right? Or do I keep going straight? Maybe I should have used Google Maps!" No one hears my crazed rantings then.

But when it happens in the grocery store, I notice other shoppers give me a wide berth. I'll be standing near the canned fish products and saying (in a voice that can clearly be heard two aisles over) "WHY DO THEY ONLY HAVE THE SARDINES IN HOT SAUCE? I DON'T WANT THE SARDINES IN HOT SAUCE, I WANT THE SARDINES IN WATER. WHO BUYS THE SARDINES IN HOT SAUCE? NO ONE, THAT'S WHO."

I take consolation in the fact that, the older you get, the more acceptable this behavior seems to become. It goes from "scary" and "potentially threatening" to "cute" and "eccentric."

Right now I'm somewhere in between.

Over and over I tell myself  loudly and proudly, even when no one else is in the room  that it's OK and I'm not at all crazy.

Which of course is exactly what a crazy person would say to himself.

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