As I approached my fourth birthday, I was looking forward to kindergarten at Miss Emily’s little red schoolhouse. My only sister was 19 years old and away at college, so I didn’t have playmates of my age around all the time. My mother recounted hearing me ‘talking to myself’ while playing alone on the front porch of our house. It seems I was describing the fun I would have with other children at this fantasy land. According to my mother, I included an outhouse as part of my description. She was amused and horrified that I added that detail.
Nonetheless, I like to think of the behavior as conversing with my imaginary friend; it sounds less like a diagnosis of some sort that way. At the time, I didn’t know what the big deal was anyway. My spinster aunt who lived next door could be heard engaging in conversation with unseen friends all the time. I loved Aunt Nellie, so if she talked when no one else was around, what could be wrong with doing that?
I no longer talk to imaginary friends, but I do enjoy imagining stories when I’m observing perfect strangers. What did that mother say when her son came home with that tattoo? Does that lady know her boots don’t match? It seems like she would notice they are different heights. What does the future hold for the couple huddled over paperwork in the doctor’s office?
Today, while browsing in an antique store, I looked down to see “Not Wet” painted in the midst of s shiny spot on the floor. I can only imagine how many times the owners were informed that there was “something spilled over by the chalk paint.” I think they should have just planted a mop nearby and watched to see what happened.