Internal dialogue.

People in modern novels are frequently depicted as having internal dialogue.  They do it on television plays too, though you don’t get to hear what they are thinking, you just see a brief facial contortion, as of someone wrestling with extreme indigestion, or a fart in a lift and you think: Bingo! Internal Dialogue.

In theory we’re all supposed to do this, especially if you’re a devotee of certain schools of psychology.  If you were very self aware, you could have a three way internal dialogue with your super ego watching as your id and your ego slog it out for supremacy, sort of:

What a delicious looking grape about to fall off that supermarket display!

You’re only thinking that because you want to steal it.

It wouldn’t be stealing because otherwise, unless I rescue it, it will fall to the floor and be trampled.  And wasted.

Supermarkets allow for wastage, you know that and it’s still stealing.

I am very hungry.  It’s only one grape and a good half hour since I last ate.  I could faint from hunger right on the display and wreck it all.

Faint from hunger?  With our hips?

Exactly!  Think of the damage our gigantic fainting frame will do to this carefully orchestrated display.

Listen to yourself!  It’s a supermarket shelf of stacked plastic crates!

What are you two arguing about now?

You know!  You’ve been listening!

Have not!  I was busy tidying out the useless regrets file.

You won’t get anywhere with that until you stop harbouring grudges.  Never mind the past, what I want to know about is this grape.

Too late!  Look, that other customer just picked it off and popped it in his mouth.

The git!  I hope it was covered in germs.

Such a noble thought, I don’t think.  You’d better punish yourself by not buying any grapes at all.

That’ll teach me.


And so on.  In theory.  In practice I don’t think I do this at all, I wash all supermarket produce obsessively, though I won’t need to in future – I’ve just put myself off buying grapes for quite a while.  If chocolate bars were sold unwrapped I’d find it much easier to lose weight.

Last night, however, labouring under the difficulties of the upper respiratory tract infection which my son so generously gifted me I very definitely had an internal dialogue.

It started when I woke up coughing.  It was half past four and I’d only been asleep for five minutes.

I grabbed what was obviously the last tissue from the box, destroyed it in one blast and then lay, half propped up on the pillows and half sliding into the bed.

I have to go down stairs to get another box of tissues.

That’s a bad idea, if I move I’ll start coughing.

I have to get the tissues now or risk falling back asleep and waking up choking with no tissues.

If I go down stairs I’ll get cold, which will wake me up properly and I’ll never get back to sleep.

If I start talking to myself I’ll wake up anyway.  The sensible thing is just to go to sleep again now.

And then wake up in five minutes choking, coughing and wetting myself.

Oh I hate this cold.

So do I but I still have to get the tissues.

Oh I feel so ill.  Poor me.

Don’t be such a wuss.  Get the tissues.  Come on up!  Get up!  Count of three. One.  Two.

All right I’m going.


And then I started coughing and I coughed all the way on to the landing, accompanied by two bleary eyed cats, who appeared from nowhere, confident in the knowledge that I could only be getting up in the night in case they were peckish.

Back in bed I coughed for half an hour and then lay propped up on  pillows, dozing.

There you are, isn’t that better?

No.  I could have been asleep for half an hour.

Or not.  Have you noticed I’m having one of those internal dialogues?

Oh!  So I am.  Fancy that!  I thought they were only a dramatic device.

Perhaps it’s a function of disease and I’m actually delirious.

Shall we go and get the thermometer?

No!  Are you crackers?

Well I am talking to myself.


Fortunately I fell asleep eventually and by morning had forgotten all about it.  So whether I engage in an internal dialogue or not, we shall never know.

Echue, echue, echgue, aach, whoosh, blert.

I’b dot well, you know.


JadeLaverick.cob – dot well at all.

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