This might sound strange but I'm going to share this here anyway. At least everyone that I've ever mentioned this to has stared back at me with a quizzical look. What, might you be wondering, am I jabbering on about? I thought you'd never ask. I'm talking about my habit of reading your words.
Huh? There it is, that baffled look I was waiting for. Let me explain.
For more years than I can even recollect I've been in the habit of following conversations visually and aurally. When someone is speaking I'm not necessarily seeing them anymore. They're a vague image relegated to an indistinct background and I'm reading their words as I would on a page, punctuation included. Now this is where this is really going to sound strange. If they use a word that piques my interest, something I don't hear in general conversation, I'll immediately jump to a dictionary format, read the definition then move on to the thesaurus to try out other words in their sentence that they could have chosen. All this, mind you, is while they're speaking and I'm still reading along. I don't get as many opportunities to cross reference random words as you'd think. Most people tend to speak in unimaginitive ways, relying on the most common forms of a word when there are so many other options out there. But sometimes I'll be surprised and perk up at what's thrown into conversation. My husband does this more often than most. I love it.
Of course these instances typically happen when I'm interested and stimulated by the subject and very engaged. That blank look on my face could just as easily be from boredom -- I could have tuned out in favor of something else, like balancing my checkbook. Ha, just checking to see if you were paying attention. I don't touch my checkbook. That's numbers again, come on.
I do this while listening to music too. The more complicated the better. I'll see the notes running across the staff and follow along with my eyes. Vocal dexterity is something that really fires me up. I'll mention Elvis Costello again because his song Beyond Belief is a pleasure to listen to and follow in my mind because of how the notes leap all over the page. Daryl Hall's Do What You Want is another fun little exercise where he shows off his vocal range. Then there's one of my very favorites, Todd Rundgren's Pretending to Care. It's a complicated and haunting song layered with harmonies and sung a capella. I can't listen to it without weeping. Huey Lewis and the News also have a glorious range. Give me harmony or give me death! Just kidding, that sounds a bit extreme doesn't it?
So anyway, I'd be interested to hear if anyone else visualizes words or music in the same way I do. I can't be alone in this, but so far, I haven't met anyone who understands how I experience these things. Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?