I've been accused, usually while playing my Nintendo DS, of needing constant stimulation. As I sit here in front of my dual monitors, each completely taken up by GoogleTalk, YouTube's assortment of old "Kids In The Hall" sketches, the latest Penny Arcade post, and of course WinAmp, any counter argument is going to fall flat no matter what I say.
So I might as well go the full route and tell you that I listen to audio books in the shower. In fact, I bought extra speakers and connected them as a "B" set on my home theater receiver, then hung one in the bathroom and the other in my bedroom, just so I could listen to audio books.
Because when you add up all the time I spend showering, flossing, brushing my teeth, shaving, dressing, etc., that's like an hour out of every day spent either getting ready for bed or bringing myself to a state where I won't be tempted to crawl back INTO bed. And I feel that time is wasted.
In short, I'm weird. Moving along.
So, one day I was taking a shower, listening to my audiobook. Probably a Discworld novel or one of Christopher Moore's intriguing-but-ultimately-unsatisfying-because-dude-just-can't-stick-the-landing works. And all of a sudden I started hearing music.
At first I wasn't surprised. Some audio books will use a little music here and there, especially as a chapter break. But this music just kept going. Once I realized it wasn't part of the program, I thought maybe it was coming from outside the bathroom window. Certainly, after the night the drunk people started up a leaf blower at 3:30 AM, I wouldn't be surprised by a little music at 8:10.
But it wasn't that either. I was hearing music, and I had no good explanation where it was coming from.
Once I finished my shower, dried off, and walked through my apartment I discovered that I'd set my 2nd alarm to "radio" instead of "off," and that's all there was to it. But for those few minutes, I had to ask myself a serious question: "Am I going crazy?"
And I didn't meant that question in any sort of rhetorical, "oh ha ha" way. Not remembering where you put your keys is the right venue for that sort of humor, but hearing music that's not there? That's a little more serious.
It's like the music they play in the dentist office. Sure it's peaceful, but you know they want you peaceful because something really bad is coming. Imaginary music is your brain's way of covering up the drill noise.
Questions, especially big questions like that one, are always more fascinating than answers. The idea that a mind in the midst of crumbling could pause to wonder if it is functioning correctly is pretty weird by itself, but there are others too. I especially like the questions that answer themselves. For instance, if you ever ask:
"Do I want another slice of pizza?"
Then the answer is no. If you wanted it, there would be no question. The mere presence of the question disproves one of the answers.
And it's the same way with:
"Am I a terrible person?"
The answer is automatically "no," because a truly terrible person would never bother to ask.