"Have you ever felt like you're the only sane person in the world," I asked her right out of the wild blue yonder. "Like everyone else is crazy?"
There are questions and there are surprises. She was surprised. We were just colleagues, acquaintances sitting in the same car because circumstance put us there - not choice. It's understandable.
"Um," she hesitated. "Never thought about it. Don't think so."
"Oh," I said. That's a personal watchword of mine. Oh. It's brief. It's meaningless. It feels round in my mouth. It means I have a lot of things to say which I don't think I should be saying. Oh reminds me to kill conversations when they stray out of the comfort of banality and start liaising with socially unacceptable weirdness.
Do you know that we have no direct access to reality? Our senses - our sight, hearing, our faculties of smell, taste and touch - gather data about reality. Not of reality, mind you. About reality. Then, with the help of all these information, we reconstruct an approximation of reality in our brains. Look around you right now - it's all a reproduction. The closer this model resembles the real world, the saner we are measurably. The reverse is true. Our personal subjective realities are just interpretations.
"Have you ever thought that you're the only sane person in the world - and everyone else is mad?" I asked a lot of people this question, usually at random. Always, I got reports that the world is well and level. The world, diagnostically, is overwhelmingly healthy in mind and spirit.
I ask because every single day, every hour within those days, down to every last second within those hours; I am haunted by this uncanny sensation I can't shake off that every single person on Earth - except me - is insane.
It's driving me nuts.