On my way back from training last night, I found myself on a tube train with a woman who was having a very animated conversation with a figment of her imagination. We were overground when I got on the train, and I initially thought she was on her mobile phone. As the tube pulled into a tunnel, and she started saying things like “I know you’re imaginary. I created you! I’m like a god” I realised there was no hidden technology at work.
I, along with everyone else on the tube, assessed her as basically functioning, apart from the imaginary person, and ignored her. I was only going one stop anyway.
After I left her, though, I got to wondering how OK she was. Should I have asked her if she was OK, and should I have checked she knew where she was and where she was going? And as I thought about it, walking alone down the street, I played out in my head how that conversations might have gone, slightly moving my mouth at times as I voiced, in my imagination, that conversation.
And I became acutely aware of the very small gap between an imagination that works as you need it to, and one that doesn’t.