Friday, January 21, 2011

Human Earworm

I blame part of my inability to be productive on a chronic case of human earworm. Put away the Merck Manual, this isn't another disease I'm convinced is killing me. Also, this isn't Star Trek. I call it human earworm becasuse it's like having a song stuck in my head, except it's a person (not literally, obviously). I become completely consumed, and daydream elaborate yet believable situations and conversations. A soap opera in my mind;  there is usually a main storyline with a dashing star, but occasionally I switch to an alternate storyline featuring a lesser character to keep things interesting. And, just like any earworm, no matter what I do, it will not go away.

It's odd that the subjects are rarely people I know, or at least know well. It follows, I guess, as the songs most likely to play on constant repeat in my brain are usually ones I don't know well either. That unfamiliarity is what provides for the, not at all annoying, endless repetition of the three bars of the song I know, as my brain trudges on in a futile attempt to remember what comes after the hook.

I'm not sure if normal people experience human earworms, or if it's just one of those idiosyncrasies that makes me so creepily weird interesting. For the sake of feeling moderately normal, I like to assume that others experience this. I am willing to acknowledge, however,  that most cases of human earworm are likely due to missing someone who was at one time an important part of the affected person's life. So, I'm still a freak.

While my earworms tend to only last slightly longer than my ridiculously short attention span, there are a few exceptions; well, one in particular. I like to think of this person as my favorite song, because that's not at all weird or a sign that I should probably seek medical attention. I have created several plotlines around this character. I say character because I don't know the person well enough to consider the imaginary version accurate. Yes, I just admitted that, at 25 years old, I have an imaginary friend. Well, not exactly an imaginary friend,  I don't believe this person is real, or at least the one I've created, I mean... umm...uhhhh...I really suck at backpedalling. I'll just stop before I make it worse.

Often, I feel like an absolute creep because I spend so much time thinking about people I don't really know. Then, I just feel like crap. Who wants to think of herself as creepy? It's really just not something I can stop. When I encounter a person who seems interesting, but don't get the chance to know that person, I have to create a story, to complete their portrait. I need them to be unabridged, easily unraveled to something recognizable and relatable. Reconstructing a life out of an exotic shell allows me to feel human. That is not something I feel very often. So, I continue singing the same three bars until I'm satisfied with the lyrics I've imagined, content in my knowledge that they are flawed and still intriguingly beautiful.

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