Roger Marolt: The little voices in my head came from a podcast
We have taken a couple of drives recently and have turned to listening to true crime podcasts to keep our minds off the road. It works. Time flies when you are so wrapped up in the narrative that you don’t remember where you are going. It is like your mind becomes an autopilot solving a crime rather than figuring out which route to take. I also find that we make better time because it’s easier to hold our bladders when the story keeps us hanging. Also, we forget to drink water.
There is a strange phenomenon associated with these podcasts, though. I find myself silently narrating a real-time account of my life to myself at random times. It’s hard to describe, but, for example, I might head to the kitchen for a snack and my mind is going something like this:
“(Over a haunting strings instrumental in the background) He went to the pantry a grabbed a handful of Fiddle Faddle to snack on, which is curious for two reasons: First of all, he wasn’t hungry. We know this for a fact because I am him. I was just bored. And, secondly, Fiddle Faddle has not been manufactured since the mid-1980s, so that couldn’t be what he got out of the pantry. The actual snack he grabbed was Cracker Jacks, which only loosely resembles Fiddle Faddle. Fiddle Faddle was more butterscotch flavored, and not so caramelly as Cracker Jacks. We should note, however, that both snack foods contain peanuts. The crazy thing here, and I say this because I can think of no other plausible explanation for it, is that he appears to have referred to the snack food as ‘Fiddle Faddle’ for no better reason than because he likes the sound of it; not how it rolls off the tip of his tongue, mind you, because we know he never said it out loud, but just the way it sounds in his own mind. And, that’s sick. (a sudden, loud end to the instrumental arrangement)”
It is as involuntary as it is weird. I am doing this now as I write, playing it out in my mind as if the process of writing this is popular entertainment that millions will be intrigued by as they are on their own road trip or riding the bus or … I can’t actually think of any other situation that somebody might resort to listening to a podcast.
“(complete silence int the background) He leaned onto his right elbow as he finished typing the lines above and then relaxed his forehead into the palm of his uplifted hand. It is only speculation, of course, but it could it be that he suddenly felt he had written all he could write on this subject and was wondering where he would go with the rest of this without sounding disjointed and confusing, as he so often does. Panic on his part? Maybe. But, the interesting thing about this might be that he once confided in me that he has felt, at times, his column should be retitled, ‘Where the Sun don’t shine.’ While we can’t be certain he was serious about this, I think it is useful to note in trying to extrapolate his frame of mind. And, that’s sick. (The screech of a violin followed by two hard pounds on a bass drum)”
I am not overly worried about this quirk I’ve developed. There was a time after I got out of college when I first took up reading for pleasure. Yes, in my entire life. Up to that point all my reading was confined to textbooks and novels required to be perused for various literature classes. This new type of reading for fun overwhelmed me. I had no idea most stories were intended to be entertaining.
I began to view days of my life as chapters in a novel. The omniscient narrator described every move I made. I remember having conversations about this with friends and it seemed lots of them had similar experiences. There also is the possibility that the omniscient narrator made this up. At any rate, the more I read, the less I heard the narrators’ voices.
“Some have said he numbed himself to the voices through sheer force of will, telling himself over and over that it was all nonsense. I think he eventually read so many books that all the voices together began to sound like the roar of a crowd. This explains why he can no longer read more than a few pages at a time. It is the gray noise from the voices that puts him quickly to sleep.”
Roger Marolt is glad that all the voices in his head make road trips a hoot. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.