Did you have an imaginary friend when you were a child? I did. His name was Bobby and he was nice all the time, even after I made him drink four glasses of milk one week-end.
I think we've all had some experience with an imaginary friend; in fact, I think some of us still hang out with ours from time to time. In fact I feel bad because recently I watched a woman in the front seat of her car work hard at driving her point home to a make believe buddy. She flailed her arms around in the air, and along with her animated expressions left the words “You- just- don’t- understand!” dangling in the air! When she turned in my direction to reiterate her point, her eyes met mine! After which, we stared at each other like a couple of deer caught in headlights! It's freaky to watch people talk to themselves, but I try to remember they’re only speaking to imaginary friends, so that's o.k. isn’t it? Besides, we think we’re invisible in our cars, so it seems like the perfect place to foster any imaginary bond.
Our vehicles host the same private rituals as private bathrooms, such as putting on make-up, shaving, washing our hands with wash wipes, and in some cases even brushing our teeth. I 've never understood why we feel this way in our car. We wouldn’t take part in most of the rituals afore mentioned in a public bathroom, so why we're willing to bath ourselves at a stop sign is beyond me. I’ve seen people do some gross things in their car when they believe no one is looking…
It’s weird, and I think we forget that the cars next to us waiting for the light to change are only a few yards away.
I always look in the car next to mine at a stoplight, but most of the time the passengers look through me as if I weren't there, as they go about shaving, eating, make-up layering, and talking to themselves. When my son was a baby, I used to make him laugh by holding his plastic toy phone to my ear at stoplights, as if enthralled in intense conversation. A few people would laugh, but the rest quickly looked away and pretended I didn’t exist. Although most folks did lose their composure at the sight of my golden retriever in a hat and coat in the front seat. People just like to think they have more of a level of privacy in their cars than they actually do, so they pretend, just like in the case of an imaginary friend.
This is what I was thinking about before I went to Home Depot Saturday to get a sheet of wood to go under my mattress. After that introduction, maybe now you will understand my frame of reference.
You’re not going to believe what I ran into at the store where Christmas music is already playing. I’m not kidding about the music either, I started to wonder if I woke up in the wrong month! Anyway, when I reached the piles of wood, there was a man standing beside me shouting into thin air, “No, now, I took him last week, now it’s your turn!”
I could not believe it! What in the world was happening that I keep running into people doing this? Did I have “pretend you are talking to yourself when Ann walks up because we’re trying to make her think she is crazy” written on my forehead?
Then he said, “Fine. Fine with me…”
I’m not kidding, the man said this into thin air, Zippo, nothing there, zero, as in no one around, with the exception of me …he spoke these words into thin air!
I freaked out, and thank goodness I hesitated before leaving, because I would’ve began to wonder about myself … Consequently, I was relieved seconds later, when a woman approached the man, and said, “What did they say?”
The man turned his head sideways and pulled a tiny little ear phone out of his ear! I haven’t the slightest idea where the mouth piece was, and I don’t know to this day! I slowly exhaled and returned to my car, where I could privately have a word with Bobby, my imaginary friend.
End of story-