I talk to myself all the time, but I rarely get a helpful response.
by Bill Mehlman
If my old man saw me talking to myself and asked who I was talking to, and I said, "No one, just myself," he'd invariably ask, "Getting any good answers?" The answer to his question was, equally invariably, "No." But I'm still talking to myself, and now I'm not so sure that my answer was correct.
The fact is that I talk to myself all the time. Constantly. No sound issues from my mouth, and it's possible that my lips aren't even moving (although my hands frequently are, making little gestures expressive of curiosity, emphasis, sometimes congeniality…probably my ego, id and superego dealing pinochle).
To the extent I'm aware of it, some of my conversations with myself are either rehearsals, in which I'm getting ready to say something to someone, which is usually ridiculous since I'll never remember the script, or variations on the "What I should have said to that jerk is…" theme. I'd like to think that it's qualitatively different from what the poor schizoid who stands in front of the supermarket, even in the rain and snow, is doing, with his lips flapping over his toothless gums and his soggy cigarette flipping up and down.
I'd really like to believe that.
Most frequently, I'm talking to myself to keep from forgetting something that I'd read, or that someone had told me, something to which I'd only been able to stay tuned for a few minutes, or else I'm telling myself what I have to do next, so that I don't forget something important, like moving the car across the street to avoid getting any more parking tickets.
Kind of sad, no? Sad, discouraging and, in the long run, debilitating.