By Mary Lynn Bruny

Recently I received an email from a reader named Randy from Loveland. He noted that since becoming petless he has started talking to imaginary friends from his childhood. He said he wasn’t sure what this says about him. I’m sure his imaginary friends are probably more attentive than most real people, so I can certainly understand the attraction.

Think about it. Imaginary friends are always available and are great listeners. They don’t interrupt or drone on endlessly. They are witty and in turn laugh at all your jokes, even the bad puns. They are nothing but supportive in all your endeavors, even the obviously stupid ones. They are no doubt highly complimentary and would never notice those big bags under your eyes because you slept horribly last night. In short, they are perfect friends in most all aspects except they aren’t technically real. My take is as long as you know they are imaginary, it seems like an okay thing. (I know there are plenty of readers who are mental health experts. Do you think I’m nuts? Scratch that! Do you think I’m correct?)

Anyway, this got me thinking about my own twisty habits. I don’t have imaginary friends – I’m not that popular – but I do have my oddities. Are they common with most of humanity or just my own weird quirks?

For instance, there is my giggling and mumbling. Often throughout the day a funny thought or memory will pop into my head and I’ll just smile and giggle to myself like a loon with a secret. Then there is my thinking-out-loud mumbling. Usually it’s something like: “Hmmm. I need to remember to do that,” which I often promptly forget. And always when I do something boneheaded like burn the sweet potato fries for the thousandth time – so easy to do! – I’ll mutter to myself, “Oh, Mary Lynn, really! Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” (My Catholic upbringing is scorched into me.)

Sometimes my husband asks what I’m laughing at or mumbling about, but most times he just looks at me for a few long seconds with a look of concern, says nothing and walks away. This is when I question if my mental train is slipping off the “normal behavior” rails.

Another thing I do a lot is talk to our cat. She does follow me around when I’m home, so it’s not like I’m desperately stalking her. She bursts through doorways while loudly screeching like the house is on fire. She definitely wants some interaction and I gamely provide it. But really, I’m having long “conversations” with a hefty chunk of fur and bones with a walnut-sized brain. In my defense she does seem to listen. And she looks at me very, very intently.

Often my husband, who also works mainly from home, will hear me talking to her and think I’m saying something to him. From another room he’ll yell, “What? What? Are you talking to me?” I’ll holler back, “No, I’m talking to the cat.” Then he’ll yell slightly louder, “What?!” Then I’ll scream back even louder and with annoyance, “CAT! TALKING TO CAT!” This exchange occurs a few times a week. Scintillating tête-à-tête to be sure.

Perhaps when our old cat dies I’ll get an imaginary friend too – a feline one. Life is long and sometimes trying. (For instance, during a worldwide pandemic.) It’s nice to have lots of beings to chat with even if they are your pets, yourself or your pretend friends who live in your own twisty, creative brain.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to