I talk to myself. A lot. I mutter, I mumble, I bitch, moan, complain… Most often I do it when I’m especially focused on something. I multitask really well; when I say I can do six things at once, it’s not hyperbole. But they need to be six pretty familiar things. When I’m doing something that requires a lot of precision, or cogitation, or sheer bloody-mindedness, I talk to myself, as if I’m giving out instructions.

It happens when I’m trying to determine why some bleeding-edge PC I’ve just built is doing something no one’s ever encountered, or when I’m trying to do something extremely dextrous with fingers I can’t see (don’t think G-spot — that’s pretty easy, really — think fiddling with a tiny bolt inside an electrical panel), or when I’m trying to force myself through something mind-numbing (like editing porn, or reading David Foster Wallace).

I also tend to poke the tip of my tongue out between my lips, like Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound, but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve never gotten shit for it, really, just because I don’t allow people (at least, people I don’t know and love — all four of them) to give me shit, period. But it bugs me when I catch myself. Particularly the tongue.

However, a University of Maryland study realeased earlier this year demonstrates that giving verbal self-instruction is a very useful and effective way of attacking complex tasks. It works as a kind of math co-processor for the brain, allowing it to race ahead to the next element while you “store” the current thing your doing in your own kind of verbal RAM.

I couldn’t be bothered to go back and find the actual study, but here’s a link to the Wired articlethat cites it, if you care.

So now, don’t even think about giving me shit. And if you’re the kind of girl who takes a lot of effort to get off, don’t be surprised if you hear me muttering between your thighs. The tongue thing is just a bonus.

Whatcha think?

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You shouldn’t think that just because I’m looking at you while you’re talking to me, that I’m necessarily listening to, or caring about, what you’re saying. It’s just something I do to be polite. — Sam Donovan (William H. Macy), Sports Night