Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Teacher Tom: Talking to Ourselves

Teacher Tom: Talking to Ourselves
Talking to Ourselves

I'm as eager for the plague to end as anyone, but one thing I'll miss is the freedom to talk to myself in public. Of course, I've always had that freedom, but when you're wearing a mask, no one can tell. For whatever reason, I don't mind admitting that my inner dialog sometimes escapes into the wild, but it would be embarrassing to have strangers actually hear me muttering to myself as I walk along a sidewalk.

I don't know when I decided that talking to myself was something to hide, but it's been a message that's been internalized for a long time. Even as a boy, I knew that etiquette required I confine the externalization of inner conversations to behind closed doors, and even then it was best to restrict them to whispers lest your brother tease you for it. I still whisper when I talk to myself, because it's important, I guess, to keep it a secret. I know it started even before my teachers convinced me that "real reading" meant not even moving your lips. I know I didn't care who heard me when I was a baby just beginning to vocalize, so it was sometime during my first six years that I got the message.

It's an odd thing, too, because words, while inert here on the page, represent sounds, built from smaller units that also represent sounds, yet we've almost universally decided that there is something wrong with releasing them into the world CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: Talking to Ourselves