I don’t know if you ever do this. I suspect most people do at some time or another, but I find myself doing it more and more lately and it’s extremely annoying. It’s a very bad habit but I can’t seem to get out of it, and of course like most bad habits the more I fight it the stronger it gets. I am referring to the tendency to argue with yourself.
Talking to yourself is fine; it’s something I do all the time and sometimes out loud. This is easier nowadays because one in every two people has a hands-free mobile set on which they conduct conversations with the air, so unless passers-by check my ears thoroughly and see that there are no earphones in them, they will not know that I am practising my poems or discussing politics rather than having some inane phone conversation about what to have for dinner tonight. (It’s salad, by the way – which does not give me joy. It’s too bloody cold for salad.)
But what really annoys me is when I argue with myself – not in a productive way but in a way that undermines something fine or beautiful that I’m thinking. For example, this evening I was finding my way back to Loughborough on a crowded and delayed train (signal failure near Loughborough: the phrase reminded me of Reggie Perrin) and I happened to be snuggled up to the door, from where I could see the most magical sunset. I started to describe it in my mind, having half an idea to write about it on here – the eerie blue of the sky, the orange underbelly of the clouds, making it look like sunset on Venus – when a cold and nasty thought came into my mind. There’s no such thing as magic, the voice said, and immediately all the wonder went from my mind like a burst bubble. Why do I do things like that? I don’t want to.
I don’t know.
It’s been a tiring day today, what with having to leave the house before eight to get to the doctors and get my repeat prescription for thyroxine. I then worked in Leicester library before going to Sound Cafe and thence to the station for a looooooooong wait and a look at some cancelled trains.
No magic there. But the sky – that was magic.