Happily minding everyone’s business.

The other day I happened to be walking down the street. Happily minding everyone’s business.

A man came walking the other way towards me. And he was singing. And here I’m referring not to the realms of half hum half murmur which is usually the case. No he was fully fledged belting out a show tune. I unfortunately am not aware of which one I seem to have blanked it from my mind.

So as he passed me I made the obligatory check for headphones. I feel it’s always best to distinguish between the unguarded and the deranged.

We all know that if we are listening to music it sometimes takes hold of us and causes us to sing uncontrollably. Normally these practices are confined to the comfort of ones own home. However in the case of headphones something rather odd happens. For some reason the complete feeling of aural surround sound makes us feel more alone. We can’t even hear ourselves singing so we feel safe.

But this man had no headphones. He was just singing. Other than the singing he looked completely normal. And that’s the worrying thing he could have easily just stopped singing and looked like a normal person. Quite a worrying state of affairs I’m sure you’ll agree.

Talking of trying to look normal on the street this reminds me of a friend of mine who revealed to me one drunken evening (drunken for him not me which is why I can remember the anecdote) that he was a sucker for talking to himself. It was his favourite thing in the world. The worst time, he assured me, was when he was on the streets. There he found much to talk to himself about but felt that society in general would frown on such behaviour and lock him up.

This lead him to his eventual saviour. He simply took a mobile phone. Held it to his head and started talking. Nobody gave him a second glance except one time when he’d been rabbiting away and had received an actual phone call. Since that incident he assured me he kept his phone on silent. So he could pretend he was getting a second call.

I haven’t mentioned it to this friend again recently but I imagine with everyone having hands free his affliction has become much easier to deal with. So many people seem to be talking to themselves until you spot the headphones. And that, my friends, is why I check so very carefully.

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