A few weeks ago, I heard a most excellent interview with the brilliant actor Bryan Cranston. He was (is?) starring as LBJ in a theater production somewhere urbane and sophisticated, and he talked about how duplicating LBJ’s voice each night was very hard on his own vocal chords. So he was going about the rest of his life without speaking, in order to rest his voice for his performances. He carried around a notebook to explain that he was on voice rest, but said that the response to his silence was always one of befuddlement and difficulty understanding why he would ever do such a thing.
I’m experiencing the same reaction. Unfortunately, my self-imposed silence is not for artistic purposes but simply because the pollen is wreaking havoc with my sinuses and throat this spring, and I have lost my voice.
Other than breathing, eating, the . . . ahem . . . opposite of eating, and (hopefully) sleeping, talking is really the only activity that most humans engage in every day. Not talking seems to be very hard for people to handle, so I’m staying at home and away from people. Obviously, I’m not using the telephone. It’s quite an isolating experience, but not exactly bad. I can now understand why religious devotees take a vow of silence and why many deaf and mute people say they would never choose to have their hearing.
It really makes it possible to hear yourself and the universe thinking. I wonder how long I can keep it up . . .