I’ve gotten into the habit of talking to myself. Let me clarify: I’ve always talked to myself. I’ve gotten in the habit of conversing with myself. Let me further clarify: I’ve gotten in the habit of practicing conversations with people who aren’t currently in the general vicinity.
Now don’t get all weirded out. Yet. I don’t actually hold the conversation, i.e. I don’t get into role play and throw my voice, utilize hand puppets, or cock my head from side to side. Nor do I presume to answer for my cohorts. That would be bizarre. No, I simply carry the conversation from my end, ask questions that never get answered and answer questions that are never asked. What’s weird about that?
They are always very potentially realistic conversations that could happen in the very near future, but you can see where the lines start to become blurred. I can’t remember if I actually called, or if I just practiced calling. One time I got super pissed, sitting at the bowling alley, done warming up, ball selected, first pitcher empty. I sent my brother a small barrage of hate-texts, only to finally have him respond that he was working late, and what the hell was I was talking about. We had no plans, and why the fuck would he want to go bowling anyway? A real crusher.
I wonder if subconsciously I’m trying to trigger déjà vu in myself. So that if and when I actually do have the conversations, I’ll be like, ‘No no no, keep talking. This is so weird. I feel like we’ve had this very conversation before!’ Maybe I need a hobby.
This has come to my immediate attention twice in the last week or so, and I’m realizing that it may be a problem. Not for me, so much, but those around me.
Exhibit A: I’ve taken up squash as a healthy outlet to all this daddy-ing stuff. But here’s an unhealthy outlet: talking to a friend who isn’t at least in the standard mode of thinking, “there.” So we get to the facility. I’m not a member, so we have to pay every time. I give the woman my credit card, she goes to run it, very standard stuff, very mundane. So far, so good. Then I see her looking at me like I had just asked her a question. And it occurred to me I had asked a question. Just not to her. I mean, why are people so damn self-centered? I was talking to my brother, lady. ABC-yourself out.
But that wasn’t the worst one. Last week I drove home from somewhere. Perhaps it was the rec center. It was nighttime, dark. We live on a quiet street. I was thinking about calling my buddy to see if he wanted to grab a beer maybe Wednesday of that week. I open my car door and step out, just as I strike up the conversation.
“Hey, what’s up, man?” I say.
A young woman just happened to be walking by at that exact moment, camouflaged with ninja stealth in the surrounding darkness. She was on her phone. You know, having a “real” conversation. She looked at me, obviously trying to figure out if I was in fact talking to her, the only other person within a half-block radius. I was not. Like I said, I was talking to my buddy.
She looked me up and down, confused because of my use of the word ‘man,’ one of which she was clearly not. But you know, it’s hands-free 2011, no worries, no reason to start quickening the old pace or grasping for the pepper spray just yet. She looked again and I looked away, like I was actually talking to someone else (and I was, my buddy), and she no doubt noticed that I had no Bluetooth protruding from either earhole. I’d say her reaction was equal parts disgust and pity.
But at that point, I was in too deep. I did the only thing I could.
“Yeah, I’m good. What are you up to tomorrow night? Yeah? You wanna grab a beer?”
Pace subsequently quickened. Questions again raised, and left unanswered. Maybe I should just remain in the familiar confines of Baby Jail. And while this is all quite obviously Bub's fault, he's also the only one I can really hold a conversation with these days. Oh, sweet sweet irony.