Friday, April 2, 2010

Monologues and Dialogues

Yes, living on a Spanish sub-tropical island is slowly driving me nuts. As if any further proof were needed of my continuing descent into insanity, I’ve started talking to inanimate objects. It began one morning several months ago, after I’d put my second sock on.

A cursory examination of me in the mirror confirmed that both socks had holes in them. “You poor things”, I murmured, adding the somewhat ambiguous comment “You really are on your last legs, aren’t you?”

Then I had breakfast, and started talking to the marmalade on my toast. “Crikey! You’re yummy!” And while examining the Spanish label on the marmalade jar “And to think I thought you were jam!”

Afterwards, when I went down to the car, I said “Good Girl!” when it started first time.

It’s sad, isn’t it? But in a strange sort of way, all this extra talking I do is strangely comforting. It’s good to happily chat away, safe in the knowledge that nobody will answer back.

In fact, it’s virtually impossible to engage an inanimate object with a decent monologue when there are other people about. If you try it in the presence of family or friends you’ll soon find out what I mean. They tend to ignore your quick comments, like those I’ve described above, but if you keep talking for more than a minute or two, they simply can’t resist interrupting.

However, if you try and do a monologue with an inanimate object in the presence of strangers, their reactions are quite the opposite. All the people in the supermarket aisles simply shuffle away when they hear me talking. Yesterday I was examining a tin of sardines halfway down what had been a fairly crowded aisle, when I noticed that everyone had disappeared.

Of course, there are exceptions. Not everyone behaves like those people in the supermarket. Take my therapist, for example. He never said anything in all my twice-weekly visits. Until yesterday, that is, when he finally broke his silence.

“No hablo ingles” he said.

Psychiatrists don’t know everything, do they? And you should have seen the look of surprise on his face as he realised I was an accomplished ventriloquist. Speechless, he was....

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