It has been widely acclaimed that the 'first sign of madness' is talking to oneself. However, in attempting to determine whether I am suffering from the above, there are many aspects to be taken into consideration!
My first 'episode' this week was when I found that I was suffering from many of the 'side effects', of a new drug, advertised on the television, without having actually taken the product. The commercial lasted for forty seconds, ten of which were to advertise how wonderful you could feel after swallowing the pill. The remaining thirty spelled out some of the dreadful things that could happen to you, including the possibility of death. The announcer then suggested, that should you suffer from any of the dreadful things that had just been mentioned, you should consult your doctor at once. I looked at my long suffering husband, who has conceded defeat in the 'who can argue the most with the television' competition, and asked, 'How do you consult your doctor if you suffer from death?' Turning my attention to the television, I started to tell the invisible broadcaster that he should perhaps edit his comments before presenting them to the world. He did not reply! As I was debating whether I was, indeed, suffering from the 'first sign of madness', there was an enormous bang, and the television, along with the lights, ceased to brighten my world.
The whole area had been plunged into darkness. My neighbours lights came on for about three seconds and were extinguished as a second bang was heard. Ever calm, Dana sighed and commented that it sounded like a transformer had blown. I was convinced that I had suffered from the final side effect of the drug I had not taken!
I did not join my husband as he walked around our complex, just to make sure there was nothing burning, but stood on our front porch sniffing. Satisfied that there was nothing on fire, Dana returned and called the city to see if anything had been reported. It appeared that many people had called to inform the authorities, who believed that it was a blown transformer, and the operator confirmed that we were in the affected area. Once again, I was not sure if I was suffering from 'the first sign', as I verbally awarded the prize for 'stating the obvious', to the lady to whom I was not speaking!
Our lights, fan and television, turned on at around 4:30am, waking us long enough to turn them off and go back to sleep, before the real alarm went off just over an hour later.
'The first sign' continued to haunt me during the week, as I received many telephone calls with recorded messages. The phone call from 'Dawn' was rather amusing. It started with an introduction, and asking how I was doing. Slightly wary that this was going to lead me one step nearer to the asylum, I answered with a sceptical, 'fine thank you'. She continued with her schpeel, but there was something a little strange about her tone. Every so often her voice would change, which led me to question her humanity. Interrupting a recording has become a favourite past time, and this was no exception. 'What is your name?', was the first question I asked, and as she continued to talk. Assuming that my initial thought was correct, I decided to assert my diagnosis, and risked being 'committed'. 'You are a recording, aren't you!' was the rhetorical question. Dawn, it would appear, took offense to this remark. 'Ha ha. I am not a re-eecording. Ha ha. I am a re-eel person'. I was convinced! After she was sure she had quelled any suspicion as to her non-android existence, she asked if I would be interested in talking to a salesperson to take advantage of the offer she was promoting. I declined, mainly because I was not entirely certain as to what she was offering, and secondly to see her reaction. However, Dawn was not going to take 'no' for an answer and transferred me to her colleague. Steve was very real. However, he had no idea as to whom I was, despite Dawn claiming to know who I was and what I required, and started to ask many questions. I stopped him mid sentence, and told him, 'I'm sorry. I was talking to Dawn. Any chance of being put back through to her?' Unfortunately, 'Steve' was unaware of anyone called 'Dawn' in his department, and was also unsure of anyone who had, as I put it, 'a robotic' voice. I thanked him for his time but said my allegiance was with Dawn, and I would only 'sign up', if I knew she would benefit from the commission!
Trying to retain a sense of sanity, I went into 'the second sign' and started a personal debate, whether I was indeed talking to myself. If there was someone there, human or not, could I be considered, normal. A man appeared on my television screen stating he was a doctor. 'No you are not!', I yelled. He had been an insurance salesman last month, a teacher the month before, and an attorney before that. I did reason, with myself, that he could have possibly gained qualifications in all fields, but if that was the case, would he have had time, in his exceptionally busy schedule (not to mention having to attend so many continuing education classes) to appear on so many commercials.
Unfortunately, I am often caught talking to myself, but this is normally when I think someone else is listening. My tendency to ask Samantha's advice on items in the supermarket, when she is not there, happens on a regular basis. 'I was talking to my daughter', is normally met with one of those, 'you poor thing' looks.
There are several times when I talk to myself when there are several people around, all of whom I am convinced are listening. Today was mother's day in the USA. I was treated to lunch at our usual 'Mom's day' haunt, and feigned shock at seeing Samantha and Edward sitting at the table, as they hid behind an enormous vase of flowers, and a collage of wedding photos. We had arranged the meeting the day before, and she had 'gone through the motions' with Dana, pretending to set up a surprise. Unfortunately, I awoke with a headache, and when Dana suggested we go out for lunch, instead of breakfast, I agreed. Around 11am, I was still feeling slightly 'under the weather'. His phone made a noise that indicated a text message, and I told him to tell Samantha we would meet her at 1:30. The relief on his face was quite obvious, as he did not have to keep up the ruse any longer. He knows that he is not very good at 'surprises', as he generally gives the 'game away' long before the date. After a scrumptious dinner the waiter brought the bill, and handed me a t-shirt, which is customary at this particular restaurant. Along with a list of other accolades, the waiter thanked me for my relentless patience and hard work, in all the years I had 'put in' being a wonderful mother. (With such an amazing speech I was expecting a gold watch!) My first response was; 'Wow! Why are you not my child?' My second was, 'Thank you, but I didn't realise you know my children'. He smiled, blankly! I happened to mention to those at my table that I usually ask for a 'large' t-shirt as I generally use them for nightwear. However, this year, the garment was particularly pretty, and the smaller size was preferable. 'Do you want me to get him to change it?' asked a helpful Edward. 'I can call him over', came the remark from my loving daughter. 'He wont mind changing it', offered my adoring husband. I gave them the same reply as I had earlier in the week, to the robotic Dawn. 'No', but this time, added a 'Thank you'. Perhaps they had all been to the same sales school as 'Dawn', or perhaps they are just used to me 'talking to myself', as all three managed to get the waiter's attention and asked if he had a different size. Still confused over whether he was 'swapped at birth', and trying to place the faces of my 'children', he offered to change the shirt. I told him that it was not necessary, and I was very happy with the one I had. Perhaps he had been to the same sales school as 'Dawn', or perhaps he just thought I was suffering from 'the first signs', as when he brought back Dana's change, he also brought a different sized shirt. 'This is a large!' I hung on to the 'small' as if my life depended on it! Nothing strange there!
I have convinced myself that talking in my sleep is not included in 'the first sign', and I have made several statements to that effect. This coming week I have an appointment to have my wisdom tooth removed. It has been suggested, and accepted, by all who know me, including the professionals at the dentists office, that this needs to be done under anaesthesia, as no-one wants me to be awake during the procedure! I have been told that, occasionally, the patient becomes slightly 'loopy', and hold conversations with 'the air'. I am hoping I will not be included in this 'occasionally' group, but either way, I am sure the leading up to, and post surgery tale will make for ...... another story.