The other day at a family cookout, my father and I ironically had a conversation. I say *ironically*, because the conversation was about not being able to have a conversation. We got on the subject how it have become so easy to fall into long periods of silence, that if we had to actually speak, like if someone unexpectedly came to the door, would we be able to hold a conversation, intelligent or otherwise, or would we just end up talking jibberish.
Our lives of silence, dad and my own, come from different sources. My dad, newly widowed. Myself, being a stay at home mom, best friend moved away years ago, husband works straight days, children are at school (one will soon be getting married and moving out).
For me, my days are spent in a voicelessness void. "Not needing to" quickly turns into "Not wanting to". In some ways, it becomes a muffled cocoon.
My dad adopted a cat so he would have something to talk to. And, to her credit, Kitty talks back. My dogs, they just look at me like I've gone bonkers when I try to talk to them. They cock their heads at me, most likely in pity.
After talking to my dad, I at least felt that mine wasn't an isolated incident, that the speech portion of my brain really didn't decide to quit working. No, it just got lazy. There are some days I honestly believe if I never had to open my mouth and speak again, it would be totally fine with me. Some days, I really relish in the silence. I don't even have the television on most days, because I was finding myself talking back to the talking heads on cable news, and that was just getting a bit too scary.
But, in the end, it is isolating, and it is lonely, and most likely not healthy. And I am sure the silence from the loss of a loved one as in my dad's case causes more pain than the normal tide change as children grow into adulthood and move on. Which just makes my instance that more shameful. Nothing was ripped from me. I'm not recovering from a vacuum like my father is trying to.
So, if you are reading this, the generic "you", that is...what I'm getting at is, for whatever reason, "if you don't use it, you might lose it." So, get off the computer, grab the phone, call someone, just to say, "Hi".
Next installment: "How Illegible My Handwriting Has Become Since Computers, But At Least I Now Have Wicked Keyboarding Skillz"