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Well yes, I am talking to myself. All the time. I don’t like it when I catch myself. But I finally figured out why I do it.

This subject inevitably leads me back to my great grandmother. I adored that woman. She made huge chunks of my childhood special, all the more appreciated because I had a plethora of grandparents (8) all of whom were divorced and remarried, and between them carried as much baggage as any army. In short, they were not the kind of grandparents who played with kids, baked cookies, or even hugged. Easy to see why my parents had problems.

But then there was Great Grandma. Spry, cheerful, full of love. And she always made me feel so special. I used to love to sit on her lap while she rocked, and hold her conch shell to my ear to listen to the “ocean.” I still have that shell, and it still has a piece of tape inside it on which she’d written: “Promised to Susan age 5.”

For years she saved a magazine because I loved the photo of pussy willows on the cover. She made the world’s best fresh squeezed lemonade in the evenings, and we’d sit on her shaded porch drinking it, watching the world go by.

She was a real grandma, but one thing about her perplexed me: she talked to herself all the time.

So when I was about four or five, I asked, “Why do you talk to yourself, Grandma?”

She answered, “Because when I talk to myself, no one else hears my secrets.”

That was quite adequate for a child my age, but in retrospect I know that was no answer at all. If she was talking, someone could hear. Still, it tickled me.

Until I realized that I’m talking to myself now. No, I don’t think it’s genetic. Not at all. But I catch myself mumbling or muttering about things, and it wasn’t until this morning I realized why.

It’s actually a good way to concentrate. To keep from forgetting what I’m doing in the midst of a complex task. A way not to get distracted by something else. As I get closer to my great grandma’s age at the time I asked that question, I have discovered that once something distracts me, I may totally forget what I’m doing. I’ve walked off before completing more than one task.

But as I was setting out my medications this morning, I was muttering about this and that pill. I caught myself and said, “Oh, God, there I go talking to myself again. This has to stop.” I mean, who wants to be around someone who’s muttering to themselves all the time?

And that’s the instant I realized why I was doing it. It started with, “I’ve got to take my meds.”  If it had stopped there, I might have forgotten because other things were going on at the same time. But by keeping up my self-dialogue, I shepherded myself through the entire process without interruption or forgetting something.

So I guess I’ll keep on talking to myself. You can just ignore me. 😉


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