I stared at her while she talked; she had been going on for quite some time. She was one of those “desperate talkers”, where the end of her sentences would come out in a strangled rush, no time to take a breath. And it occurred to me that I had been listening for an hour and had no idea what she was actually talking about. I wonder if she did?
I love to tell stories. (In case you hadn’t noticed). I love to entertain and engage my friends and family, and frankly, anyone who will listen, to the things that get me worked up. Sometimes I’m even asked to “tell that one about” again. (those are always the best stories)
But I do know the difference between a story to tell, something to contribute, and noise. And I’ve been looking around lately and noticing a lot of noise.
It’s everywhere. Radio jockeys fill dead air with drivel and racket between weather and traffic reports, television puts “actors” in front of cameras to monkey around between product plugs (this brings to mind Hawaii 5o, it’s an hour long commercial for cars, phones and computers, and if you’re lucky, McGarrett takes his shirt off for you). And people go about their days, from the time they get out of bed to the time they get back into it, swarmed with noise. Making more noise.
“I know how to move air through my larynx and make shapes with my mouth and did you know there’s a sky up there and I like lattes and one of the Kardashians is porking another basket ball player and I’m so uncomfortablewithsilencethatI’mgoingtochokemyselfnow” *GASP* “and on my way to work today I drove by that new store and I think I’ll go in there tomorrow didyouknowIgottheseshoesonsale?” *gaaaasp*
There’s this urgency to connect. That if you don’t make enough noise to add to the racket then you can’t be a part of the world. That if a person were to just be quiet, they would fade away. ( I realize this is beginning to sound like a prelude to institutionalization… oh well).
The internet is 99% noise now. You have to have pretty sharp search skills to navigate through the ads, the misinformation and outright propaganda. And we add to it, heap it on, choking on our own breath to dump our noise into social media “thisismykitty! OMGYOLO! thisisntmykittyit’ssomeoneelseskittywithfunnyWERDZonthepicture!”
Yes, even I do it. But these last few weeks I’ve been looking at the noise I make- and how much of it I make just to distract myself when I’m uncomfortable with silence; or because I feel like I need attention.
This is not one of those moments. Promise. But it is why, in part, I don’t post as often as I did. I realized that bombarding the internet and my dear readers with filler and uninspired writing for it’s own sake, was boring and meaningless.
I read a post belonging to someone I know and it went on for a thousand words and said NOTHING.
So, the SOMETHING I would like to impart to you today- think about the noise in your life. And practice silence. Sometimes amidst the racket there is a voice with something to say, but nobody can hear it over the noise.