You know how people are more and less susceptible to hypnosis? With some who just can't be hypnotized, and others who fall under the spell even if they're just in the audience? (Please note: all complaints about the appearance of hypnosis here can be directed to The Lathe of Heaven, which I just read and is now stuck in my head in small and surprising ways).
Now add to that notion two triggers:
1) Chestnut said, "Wait, let me tell you what she said." Then almost to herself, "She's so funny." She was talking about a fictional character. This fictional character.
2) On Twitter (sorry! I know!) I follow someone named Theresa Lauren wrote: "People keep acting like I'm supposed to care more about them than I care about fictional characters. It's so weird."
Result? My brain took these three things and mixed them up to form half-baked theory #1. There are some people who are susceptible to fiction. As in: they just believe it. I am one of them. The characters seem just as real (if not more so) than the people I meet in regular life, the worlds created have just as much actual weight. It's not exactly "liking to read," which you hear people worrying all the time. "Why doesn't he like to read? I always liked to read at his age!" It's more fiction-centered, it's just…buying the whole concept of an alternate world. And you can have it more strongly and less, like the ability to see in three dimensions (see Oliver Sacks's The Mind's Eye, which is pretty crazy and wonderful).
And here's the nice thing about a blog: I can spout this whole half-baked theory and no one will stop me as a write it and say, "But wait, what about…." I can just get it out of my system, and carry on with my day.
However? I really think it's true. And fair warning: there are more half-baked theories coming.