CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "What did you say?" my husband asks.
"Just talking to the dog," I say, since talking to the dog -- or one of our other animals -- is less crazy than talking to myself.
The thing is, I don't just talk to myself. I answer. I insult. I compliment.
When at home, the pack of animals that travel about the house with me provide cover for the conversing I do. Though my comments aren't generally directed at the animals, they're considerate enough to look my direction, making it appear to anyone watching as if I'm cognizant of my crowd.
The predisposition toward talking to myself might've started a dozen or so years ago, after someone suggested reading my stories out loud to find where I stumble. I felt strange reading out loud to myself, so I read to our cat, who appeared pleased with the opportunity to share his opinion.
Somewhere along the line, speaking aloud about most anything I wasn't certain about became automatic. This resulted in our cats becoming convinced their presence was essential for matters involving fashion, paint colors and hairstyles, while the dogs weighed in on tools, gardening matters and appropriate times for a nap. They probably fear my undoing should I face making a decision without them.
Fearing my behavior was not normal, I decided to research the matter and quickly found studies indicating that talking to oneself is a sign of intelligence.
Hmmm, I said to myself. If talking to oneself is a sign of intelligence, I'll go back to the beginning of that article and read it out loud to myself, since by default, it seems that reading to oneself about talking to oneself would be a sign of pure genius.