Tell Me About Me

I’m walking up the steps at school, from the sounds of it, towards a conversation. As I close in, I get the idea that it’s a rather intense discussion. I put my head down: get through these people, no eye contact.

I turn the corner and there’s a girl. She is clearly shocked at my appearance; she stares at me a bit wide-eyed. I think of jokingly warning her to avoid whatever conversation is happening nearby. It’s then I notice that the voices have stopped.

The girl runs away down the steps. Fast.

As I climb I no longer hear the voices. I look around, peel my ears, lean out over the railing a bit to peer up into the higher levels of the stairwell. Nothing. Nobody.

I am in my office when I realize that the girl was speaking. It takes a moment longer for me to understand that she was speaking to herself. I put all the clues together: her shock, red face, wide eyes, the terror-stricken look, her quick getaway. Then, of course, the facts that we were the only people in the stairwell and that, after she left, not only was I alone, but the voices had stopped.

I am very quick and sharp.

Here’s the thing. She needn’t have worried so much. Getting caught talking to yourself is an activity in which I am a weekly participant. In the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you that, besides this time, I am always the one talking to an audience of Me.

I am not ashamed, either. This morning I got caught by a neighbor as I verbally went over my lesson plan. A little while later I was given an odd look by a guy as I had an hypothetical discussion with my boss.

Getting caught talking to oneself was not only a fact of life in my family, but a familial rite of passage. Living in the Galeone household meant hearing a number of voices from all around the house, all in some kind of discussion with its owner. We are a talkative lot, and if nobody is there to hear us, well then we become our own audience.

I am a huge advocate of talking to oneself. Sometimes I just need to get something off my chest. Other times I need to voice a story or blog idea, talk out a lesson plan, practice an uncomfortable conversation with a friend or colleague. Maybe I want to practice my awful Czech and can’t bear to punish another human with it. Additionally, rather than drive a friend nuts with the sheer volume of my chatter, when I talk to myself I exasperate only Moi. Or maybe the cat.

I am not the only one either. A friend of mine was randomly told by her landlord that if she she would have to pay extra if she had a person living with her (in her one bedroom flat). When she asked why he thought she had a flatmate he told her that he (and the other neighbors) could hear her talking to someone in the flat. She then explained that she was talking to herself. And, though I wasn’t there, I hope she explained it with a strong chin and no shame.

You non-self talkers might look down on us, but we are better prepared for bad conversations, meetings, discussions; we get things off our chest alone so as not to bother others, and we are most definitely funnier than all of you.

And even if you don’t think so, we do, and that’s what’s important.

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