Awkward non-silence

When I was a kid, and home alone after school, I sometimes stood in front of the mirror in the hall holding another mirror, and gaze into the mirror tunnel I saw in front of me. I used to stand there and think it was an entrance to another world.

Decades later, when I was a single man living the single man’s life, it sometimes happened that on a Sunday afternoon, while watching a rerun of “Friends”, I realized that I hadn’t spoken with another person since Friday night when I had left the office.

Now, that didn’t mean that I hadn’t spoken at all, or opened my mouth one bit. I’d most likely been singing along classic 1980s hits, or laughing out loud – back then nobody LOLed – and speaking to the talking heads on TV, even arguing with them.

Esa Pakarinen. No relation.

But also, I had been speaking just to myself. I used to hold speeches, in English and in French, mostly in English, on topics that ranged from post-game statements to the media to Oscar speeches to something I should have said to a client or a friend.

“Mais, mais, je.. Je…”

Yes, my French speeches were short.

I don’t talk in the car like I used to, and I recently discovered that I seem to talk to myself only in one specific instance these days: When I think back to something I’ve done, and conclude that it might have been embarrassing.

The other day, for example, I was in the kitchen making coffee and I thought back to an interview I made the week before during which I told the interview person that I happen to make the best lattes in Stockholm.

And as soon as that thought crossed my mind, I laughed a little, and started to mumble, and shake my head a little, and kept talking to this imaginary person, going through the process of making a real good cafe latte.

Most of the times, though, I just say something like “Oh, well” or “Now, wasn’t that something”, or, “But it’s true!” Sometimes I crack a joke, and then other times I may sing a little.

I actually sing a lot in the house. I’m not a great singer, which is why I only sing in the house, but in here, I like to sing. Anything can trigger a song in me. Son says he needs a name for his cartoon character, tentatively called “Square” so I suggest calling him “Hip” as .. in

I used to be a renegade, I used to fool around
But I couldn’t take the punishment, and had to settle down
Now I’m playing it real straight, and yes I cut my hair
You might think I’m crazy, but I don’t even care
Because I can tell what’s going on

It’s hip to be a square

Mostly I do Finnish oldies, though, and we even play this as a game. Son and Daugher can throw words at me, and I’ll sing a song about that word. (If anyone knows a song in which “fork” is featured, let me know).

Last week, Son and Daughter and I were on the bus on our way home from school. Son was playing something on my iPad, Daughter had my “iPad mini mini”, my phone, that is, so all I had was the bus window and my thoughts.

And that’s when I thought about a comment I had made to another interview person – I never learn, do I – and it made me feel a little awkward, and this time my escape was a song. I belted out a Finnish classic about a silver moon, a song often sung in our house.

Of course, we were on the bus which made it an awkward moment and when I think about it now, I want to stand up and hold a speech. And that loop reminds me of that mirror tunnel.

I can’t believe I told you about the mirror tunnel.

How embarrassing.


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