Talking to Yourself


This time of year, I can get a bit scatterbrained.  There’s no garden to focus my thoughts, so when I’m not teaching, I can kind of drift around.  If it’s a bad year, the Seasonal Affective Disorder sets in early, and then not only am I drifting, I’m doing it in a sea of “nothing matters.”

I’d like to personally thank Barack Obama and all the people who voted for him, and those who voted No on Initiated Measure 11 for this year’s reprieve.  Nothing to make SAD come on faster than a mean little man as president-elect and the feeling that the state and religious wingnuts think they own your body.  So, thanks for keeping that from happening.

This year isn’t so bad thusfar–I am doing a lot of reading when I’m not online, which is pretty standard for the darker months.  I do have to watch what I read a little–it’s a good thing I finished Giants in the Earth when I did, and can move on to slightly lighter reading.  Still, there were a couple days when the thought crossed my mind that I might be getting a little like Beret, without the saving grace of religious righteousness.  In short, just plain mean and crazy.

I’m past that now, and onto more pleasant thoughts.  I do enjoy the holiday season coming when it does mostly because of the opportunity to get out and talk to people a little, though lately I seem to have a slight problem stringing together a coherent sentence out loud to an actual living person.  I took myself down to the Coffee Shop with my current novel, so as to break the spell of speaking to no one but myself and the dog (and H of course).

There seems to be a trend of more people talking out loud to themselves in public–or maybe I’m just noticing it more among those not yet admitted to the state hospitals.  I do it–in the grocery store especially if I haven’t made a list.  Let me just be clear that I don’t have a problem with it if no one else does. I’d like to see us all just get along on this point.

I overheard one of the Coffee Shop employees do it this afternoon–he was right by my table, and I was fairly well engrossed in my book, but I heard him say “Well, that wasn’t smart,” and I peeked out of the corner of my eye.  I was the only one within earshot, and since he wasn’t looking at me for a response, I can only assume he was talking to himself.  That’s just OK with me.

One of the things I do regularly in order to have contact with fellow human beings and also give my dog the opportunity to exercise is drive down to the dog park in the afternoons.  The social scene is a little weird there because in dog park etiquette, you know the names of all the dogs, but you may know literally none of the names of the owners.  You can stand there for the whole hour chatting with a person day after day and never ask their name, but their dog’s names you couldn’t forget if you tried.

One time I was chatting with a guy down there whose dog my dog had played with almost every day for a few weeks, and I asked him his name, thinking that at that point in the conversation it seemed a reasonable thing to do.  He started getting weird about it and immediately brought up his wife in a sort of random way that suggested he thought I was hitting on him.  Since then, I don’t generally bother asking people’s names.  Only the dogs have identities at the dog park, and since we can’t go around sniffing their butts like our dogs do, we remember their names.

I can see how it’s doubly strange when the partners of people who regularly bring their dogs down suddenly show up with the dog but without their partner.  If they don’t know how things are at the dog park, they might be more than a little creeped out at the fact that quite literally everyone knows their dog, and they’ve never seen any of those people before in their lives.  They might get to thinking their dog is somehow moonlighting on them, and is part of a rockin’ social scene.

It might be a little sad to realize that my dog has an awful lot more friends she sees on a regular basis than I do, but she at least lets me come to her parties.  And she hardly ever looks at me funny when I talk to myself.

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