Friday, 29 April 2011

The Benefit of Imaginary Friends

The other day I was thinking about Mr Peach and Mrs Outway. Mr Peach is my butler and Mrs Outway is my housekeeper. I've got a whole swathe of household staff, from Peach & Outway through kitchen maids, laundry maids, footmen, and scullions. (His Grace's valet is Jack and my lady's maid is Jessica.)

And not a single one of them is real.

Staid, boring mundane types might consider that a sign of a few screws loose, but what it really is is the opposite--it's a sign of mental stability.

The presence of "imaginary friends" or fictitious people is a human's way of creating the idea of another human being outside of oneself thay will fulfill a social need in a person. Many children invent an "imaginary friend" of some kind to serve a very real psychological need. Sometimes it can be as simple as a play companion, but in certain circumstances, the child may create a defender or protector to give them the sense that they may not be as powerless as they feel. This is often the case for children who have been abused or neglected somehow.

For me, I've invented a whole household of staff because I hate housework. Loathe the stuff, really. Can't stand it.

But it has to get done. Since my heart cringes at the thought, I have delegated the tasks to the household. Mr Peach makes sure the staff do what they have to do. Kim (from Southeast Asia) is in charge of the kitchen. Jack & Jessica make sure clothes and other bedchamber stuff is neat and tidy and Mrs Outway makes sure things run smoothly overall. The footmen are there for odd little tasks and the gardeners (of which there are two) keep the yards squared away. The laundry maids can be a handful, especially with their use of magic when it comes to washing clothes, but Mr Peach is more than sufficient to deal with them.

And so when I'm busy washing dishes or hanging out clothes, I deceive myself by withdrawing into my imagination and assume that it's not really me doing the work, but someone else.

And thus the housework gets done.

No comments: