I was glad to see this blog post from Scott Adams, in which he describes thinking about topics in the form of hypothetical conversations with people he knows. I was glad to see it because it’s how I do a lot of my thinking, and it’s hard to describe to others. (Except in my head, I guess.)

The point where our experiences differ is that Adams concentrates on particular people in the role of hypothetical listener, while my listeners tend to either be particular people for the day, or people who make sense depending on what I’m thinking about. It is one of those things that’s hard to explain to others, though. Adams says it best:

I don’t tell a person he or she is my hypothetical listener because that conversation would turn awkward. “Hey, Bruce, I was imagining you for 18 hours yesterday, as I do every day.”

Usually my listener is my wife, so I can tell her I had an imaginary conversation with her because she already knows I’m weird. The biggest problem I have, aside from the possibility of creeping someone out by pointing out that you think about them a lot more than they think about you, is the fact that I sometimes have problems remembering which conversations I actually had with people vs. which ones were imaginary. Nothing works better in a conversation than when you start on a topic with the assumption that you’ve already discussed it. 🙂