Friday, March 20, 2009

Did I just say that out loud?

As long as I can remember, I’ve had an active inner voice. By that, I mean there is rarely a time in the day that I’m not thinking about something -- debating with myself (I really should take that class/no, not enough time), making mental lists (go to the bank, drop off library books, pick up some milk, . . .), making plans (when should we go to Hawaii?), commenting on the passing parade (what IS she wearing?), pondering both the big and little pictures of life (what am I doing here/it’s a beautiful day), and allowing a few curses to enter staccato-like into my musings (mostly shit, but occasionally the F-word).

Even when I’m relaxed and not doing anything, there is commentary going on inside my head. The only time it’s quiet is if and when I try relaxation and meditation. Even then, it’s more like a litany of omm (relax), omm (relax neck), ommm (relax arms), ommmm (neck is still tense), ommm (arms are tense again), ommm (relax arms), ommmm, ommm (how long have been doing this), ommmm. Clearly, I have not mastered the technique.

I wonder. Do others have the same trouble?

The older I get, the more these inner musings end up spoken aloud. Not just the occasional word, but entire sentences - paragraphs, even. More so if I’m watching a hockey game, network news, or a dumb TV show. For example, “Give me a break, how can anyone be that stupid? Everyone knows she's had work done!” or "Did we need another research study to tell us what we've known for years. Common sense, people!" I'm sort of like the person you might see at a movie who talks back to the screen. Other times, I'll say things out loud just to clarify my thinking, as if the proof to my logic is in the hearing of it in concrete words.

Sometimes, my husband or one of my sons will ask, “Who are you talking to?” or De Niro-like, “Are you talking to me?”, noticing, I suppose, that there isn’t any animate object within my immediate vicinity. I usually reply chirpily that I’m just talking to myself. The rationale being that there’s nothing wrong with talking to yourself as long as you don’t answer – or so I’ve been told.

For the most part, I think it’s normal – except for the wee part of me that thinks, perhaps, just perhaps, I’m going a bit dotty.

I have visions of a white-haired octogenarian in a house full of cats, dusty plants on every windowsill, every available flat surface piled to overflowing with books, magazines and unopened junk mail, shuffling around and muttering to herself; "must remember to feed Daisy, don’t forget to phone Jay, where is that telephone bill?, better set the timer for the Canucks game, . . . ."

The last few days, I’ve been trying to keep my mouth zipped when no one else is around -- just to see if I can do it. It’s been harder than I expected. More than a few times, I’ve had to cup my hands over my mouth to stop words from spewing forth when there was no one to hear them except me and the dust bunnies.

Maybe dotty isn’t the right word for this. I like eccentric better. Eccentric conjures visions of a creative soul -- hoopy earrings and flowing, caftan robes in purples and reds (or is that a fortune-teller?). Well, the creative soul part is good.

Now, if only I can be assured that no one will call the mental health authorities to have me taken away, I’ll feel free to mutter and mumble away in my eccentricity.


Irene Wilde said...

I'm incessant. At work, I mutter to myself in order to stay on task, or I negotiate with my computer to get it to do my bidding. I talk to traffic lights in the car, explaining all the reasons I need them to change to green so I can get where I'm going. And that writer's voice inside is always searching around for that idea that will spark a new story, so it makes things up about the people around me: "She's an accountant who gets drunks and sings karaoke on Friday nights." "That guy looks like he'd make a good gangster, if I ever write a gangster story this is how I would describe him..."

Sometimes I want it all to shut up and give me some peace, but I'm accustomed to it. The Child is accustomed to it and my bosses are accustomed to it. Eccentric, maybe, but what makes us different makes us special, yes?

Gem said...

Ha, I'm laughing away here, Ell.
When I caught myself talking out loud while out for a walk, I began to work very hard to assemble some sort of quietness in my head. It's still a work in progress because just the other day my sister said she saw me talking to the washing machine. However, she also believes there is a god watching our every action, so we cannot take her word for it.

Joy said...

Love that last sentence, Gem!

I thought everyone has an active inner voice. They don't? I can't shut mine up, either, and do the same thing when I try to meditate. My voice in my head always natters, and I talk to myself. We're OK. Right? :-)

"I have visions of a white-haired octogenarian in a house full of cats, dusty plants on every windowsill, every available flat surface piled to overflowing with books, magazines and unopened junk mail, shuffling around and muttering to herself"

Well, I got an early start on this! You described me really well! I have one cat, but the rest is spot on!

Berry Blog said...

It's hardest to hear the "still small voice" but the rest are always loud and clear. I spend a lot of time yelling back..."Who the F is telling the truth here?"
Retired, the voices are busier than ever and we argue all the time over the silliest things...what to have to eat, whether of not to indulge a drink, to go to the store, to pay a bill, to do a laundry or wait, read a book or watch a movie, etc etc. The only thiing we don't argue about is whether or not to have a cigarette...we all agree on that.Even the still small voice says "go ahead".Damn!

Good to see you posting again. I'll be here waiting.
xoxo charlie

ell said...

Irene, I like that. We're Special. As Charlie would say, "'splains a lot Lucy!"

I talk while driving, too. How else to tell someone to "please move over and let me by; I'm so late; my own fault, I always get carried away playing online Mahjong; (oh shoot, I hope J remembered to make a reservation at The Boathouse); yes, yes, thank you, thank you!" - courtesy wave. Honking is just so rude. Besides, I figure most people will just think I'm singing along to the radio!

Joy, I'm sure everyone has an inner voice, I'm just not so sure they let it out in quite the same way. :) Of course, there are those whose inner voice consists of, "ooh, another sale! Let's go to the mall!"

Gem, I've discovered it's very hard for me to be quiet inside my head. (I've talked to the washing machine, too, as in "Stop it! I'm sure I balanced you!")

Charlie, you're at a much more advanced stage -- I notice you use the royal, "we". ;)

Berry Blog said...

Oh honey I'm not advanced...I'm regressive, in fact I ride that shaking washer/dryer combo and yell to it. Yeee hawwwwr!
hey you must also listen and sing the songs that float through your head too. does this song that popped in connect to what I am doing now?

Gem said...

Ell, ha, washing machines losing their balance is a universal problem, a little like people:)

Camila Bordamalo García said...

I do the same! but i dont get worry I just try that nobody see me while I am doing it!
I like too much your wrtings, I invete you to visit my blog. I am from Colombia, but I have translated some of my short stories of my recent book and you can read them in english: