One Hundred Years of Quietude

silence3I’m a quiet person. Reserved. Soft spoken. A result of introversion and a lisp, I suppose.

I can’t recall the last time I yelled. I would certainly fail out of primal scream therapy.  And I worry about not being able to yell in a time of danger. I fear my idea of a scream will be no more than a loud whisper.

Or maybe it’s that I like the quiet. I’ve been working in a basement the last couple weeks, mostly alone. Sure it’s a little dark at times, but the quietude is enjoyable.  You see I am easily startled by loud noises, and sometimes even soft noises. The solitude allows me to recharge so I can survive in the loud, noisy world.

I’m not a hermit, though. I need to be around people sometimes. Even though I’m introverted, I grew up in a large family and the overwhelming and continual presence of people became normal if not comfortable. That’s why I like to go to coffee shops by myself: Alone in a room full of people.

I saw a Spanish language movie the other day called “Cannibal.” No soundtrack. Minimal dialog as well. Lots of quiet time.  I’m pretty comfortable with awkward silences. And for the most part my life doesn’t have a soundtrack so that’s pretty normal.

I wondered what others in the audience thought and felt about the experience. People not like me. People conditioned to a world of constant noise. A world where noise means excitement, noise means engagement, noise means something is going on.

Is all that noise just a distraction? Just like smart phones? The inevitable result of an ADHD, go-go-go world.  Anything to distract you from just being in the moment.

It’s as if someone decided that noise and activity equal fulfillment. At work we used to say that activity isn’t productivity. Well, activity isn’t necessarily fulfillment either.

You need solitude and quietude to allow yourself to absorb the fulfilling parts of your activity. And you need to learn to find fulfillment in just being here, right now, not distracted by noise and your smartphone.

Long periods of quietude might seem daunting, I know. Just start with a few minutes. You might enjoy it.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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