Some self-centered ramblings on how one’s talking can deteriorate from private musings to public utterances and make it seem like progress
Talking enters a new realm
In a store recently, upon picking up a pair of shoes that looked promising from the head-on view but from another perspective were not at all what I had hoped, I actually said aloud (I was there alone, and there was no one in the vicinity), “Too high.” Although I had not intended this to happen, at least I was aware of what I had done. Now, I keep wondering about it. Until that moment, I had always managed to confine my audible public comments – while on my own – to sighing and tsk-ing. Now I had begun talking. These were two actual words. The question presents itself: if I immediately knew what I had done, does this mean I can stop myself from doing it in future? I suppose some part of me would like to believe that by coming here and posting this publicly (to an imagined readership) I have taken preventive measures against this tendency’s progressing any further. Still, I wonder how I will know that I’ve stopped noticing it.
Talking to the hand
Ruminating about this led me to recall a turn of phrase that was very prevalent a few years back: talk to the hand, a rather rude way of telling someone that they’re being ignored. Use of this expression was so prevalent for awhile and so indicative of the lack of manners it conveyed that it became the title of a book exploring the subject. Of course this is not a very kind thing to say to, for example, a person looking for help or information, but as an idea, observed from the sidelines, I’ve always found it funny. I would never utter it myself and have had some regrets about that. Finally I believe I have discovered what I can do in order to catch up on lost merriment and not give offense. I realize the success of my plan depends upon my still being aware of talking aloud to myself, but my hopes are high. If anyone inquires whom I was addressing, I’ll say, “I was talking to the hand.” The wonderful part is that I will have been – talking to the hand, that is; my hand. That’s what I’ve been doing all along, I suddenly realize, and a previously impolite imperative can revert to its original meaning.
Talking and singing, Guidonian style
All of this inevitably leads (in my meandering mind) to the Guidonian hand, the most wonderful example of a hand to be talked, or sung, to by musicians the last thousand years. The Medieval music theorist, Guido of Arezzo, created a mnemonic device to aid in the singing of chants, thus inventing modern musical notation. I am so often aware of the musician’s debt to him but never truly gave my gratitude a concrete form. Now I am thinking that, aside from my own, it’s Guido’s hand I should be serenading.