IF talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, then having conversations with inanimate objects must be complete and utter insanity... and I’m sure I’m not the only one to plead guilty.
People talk to tiny babies even though they know they won’t understand what they are saying or talk back to them.
We chat to our pets like they are our friends not expecting an answer – so what’s wrong with extending our conversational skills to tables, chairs, cars and even lamp-posts?
Or in my case, it’s not really harmless chitchat I enter into with objects but I’m usually blaming them for when things go wrong – sometimes with an expletive muttered under my breath thrown in for good measure.
You know the type of thing, as I’m sure you’ve all done and said it yourself: “Come on you stupid computer, don’t you dare crash on me again!” or “Why won’t you play?” to a DVD or CD which freezes up unexpectedly.
Kitchen appliances can be particularly irksome and often need a good talking to. “You wretched toaster, why have you burnt my toast again?” or “Hurry up and boil kettle!”
Inanimate objects often have a habit of making you the unwilling participant in a game of hide and seek.
When we can’t find something, it makes us feel we are doing something constructive when we pace round the house saying: “Where are you car keys, where are you?” as if they’re going to jump out shrieking: “Here I am!”
Speaking of cars, there’s also the issue of those who speak to their cars… and again, I have to hang my head in shame and admit to doing this – particularly in the days of driving old bangers which frequently let me down.
I distinctly remember pulling out the choke (remember that!) on my first car and begging: “Please start, please don’t let me down!”
Or sometimes I used the more threatening approach: “You better start, or else!”
I’m not quite sure what I was threatening my car with. A long overdue wash maybe?
I am, however, gratified to report I’ve never done a full-scale Basil Fawlty-style ranting and raving at my vehicle before thrashing it with a branch.
Before you start thinking I have anger issues with objects which can’t talk back, I can also be extremely polite and apologetic and even filled with gratitude towards unresponsive items.
A classic example is when I’m clumsy enough to walk into a door or a table and find myself saying: “I’m sorry.”
What?! I’ve just bashed myself and earned a big bruise in the process and I’m apologising to an inanimate object?
I must have knocked my head harder than I thought.
Words of encouragement can help in certain circumstances. Well, they help you feel better anyway. Such as talking to your hair to persuade it to go right or shouting tactics to the players when watching a football match from the comfort of your armchair.
So to some degree, it’s perfectly normal, right?
I mean if Prince Charles can talk to his plants, why isn’t it fine for the rest of us?
Surely the only time to call the men in white coats is when you start expecting the objects to answer you?
But apparently, talking to yourself – or objects – isn’t a sign of craziness at all, but in fact a sign of smartness.
It seems talking to yourself makes your brain work more efficiently. It also helps you organise your thoughts, clarify your decisions and calm your nerves.
Some of the most intelligent people talked to themselves. Albert Einstein, for one, is reported to have repeated his sentences to himself softly.
It appears that talking to yourself is a sign that you are self-reliant. Like Einstein, who was highly proficient and knew he could count on himself to figure out what he needed.
Hubby has a different theory – and it’s not anything to do with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
He told me that I must talk to myself because I like to hear the sound of my own voice.
Fancy a natter with yourself?
Do it loud and proud.