Anyway, so (no shit?) there I was, standing in line at Ingebretsen's. Before I decided to get Iron Sunrise out of my purse and start reading it (yes, I have a big purse), my brain had automatically launched into playing Explaining To Time Travelers. As I was driving home from all the errands, it occurred to me that not everyone may do this. My brain, when it's in an inherently boring situation and oughtn't to be coming up with important things that will get forgotten later, will, without conscious decision, start providing explanations for the current (boring) situation for characters from different historical eras. What would strike an ancestral Viking as odd about standing in line at Ingebretsen's? What would my flapper Gran have found strange if she had observed the whole thing when she was in her teens? What about someone from a future? Etc. Usually it's someone in my head going, "What's she doing?" and then we're off from there. For some reason, who/when it's supposed to be is always clear from the tone. Can I tell a 10th century Castilian from a 22nd century Tibetan in my head? Well, yes, naturally.
I also play Stuck On A Spaceship, which I've been playing since I was 12 at least. You are going to be stuck indefinitely in a reasonable but confined space with 16 other people. You get to pick which 16. Blood kin not allowed: no more than one person from any family group. Marriage kin is allowed in genetically distinct groups: you can choose your husband or your sister-in-law but not both. Those friends of yours from college who are brothers? Can't have both.
Do any of you do this sort of thing? Do you play specifically similar games or just generally similar mental things? And do you consciously say to yourself, "Ah, time for Explaining To Time Travelers," or does it just happen when your brain is otherwise not immediately occupied by your surroundings?
A few days ago, elisem asked if anybody practiced constructing wishes just in case one was confronted with the standard genie setup. I do that, too, actually, just not as often. Also my brain automatically finds the prime factors of numbers, but that's not so much along the lines of a game. It doesn't occupy me. It's just as if something in the back of my head announces "2x11x13!" when it passes a license plate that says 286, without intent or effort on my part. And I pat that bit of brain on the head -- very good, mathbrain, go back to sleep -- and go on with my life. Also with license plates -- and sometimes markgritter and timprov have been known to play this with me -- we'll try to come up with a word that has the letters on the license plate in it, longer than 5 letters, in that same order for bonus points. So sometimes I drive past PDT 286 and have parts of my brain announcing, "Expedient!" and "2x11x13!", while the conscious parts of my brain are working on driving and on the book and on who knows what else.
They're very enthusiastic, the bits of brain that do this kind of game.
This may be more than you wanted to know, but I'm curious about brain games now. I can't remember whose law it is, but someone assures me I can't be "the only one who." Anyone?