Maybe I'm a bit of a masochist, but I like experimenting on myself. Continuing on the alliterative theme from Mobile-free Monday, I wanted to see if I could be completely silent for a whole day. This was never going to happen on a weekday at work, so Sunday seemed like a good day to try it.
Here's what happened.
We're driving back from a party when midnight strikes. I suddenly feel like I want shout - why didn't I do this a few minutes ago?
Messed it up already by speaking to the dog - "do you need to go to the toilet before we go to bed?" Does that even count? It's going to be very hard to control the dog without speaking.
I set a reminder on my phone telling me not to speak, which is what wakes me up.
I guess the easy thing to do would be just communicate by text all day, or get a Stephen hawking style robot voice app. That's probably cheating.
Go for a long dog walk on Bodmin moor with a very understanding friend. She tries to be silent too and lasts all of ten seconds. I have a whistle to communicate with the dog, but feel a bit bad blowing it at my friend when I want to attract her attention from a distance.
It's very hard to communicate without speaking, I wish I'd played charades more.
My friend tells me off for laughing, but there's no way I could stop doing that for a day. At some points on the walk she starts communicating using gestures too, angling her hands over her head as a sign for a house.
We need better gestures for question words - instead of why, when, how etc I'm reduced to looking bemused. If I was doing this for any longer I'd definitely learn sign language.
I'm trying to not use writing to communicate, but it's really hard. If you were illiterate then a day (or vow) of silence would really cut you off from the world. Monks apparently had their own sign language.
I'm concentrating really hard on a computer-related task, then turn to Kat and accidentally start a sentence! This is surprisingly hard.
I wave at Kat from across the kitchen to see if she wants a cup of tea. She suggests that I use the whistle, but is that cheating? I'm not sure. I'm quite enjoying my silence, it frees me from having to communicate with people. I like to have a day without communicating at all, but that would be very hard indeed.
The hardest time to remember not to talk is when I'm concentrating. I finish watching a YouTube movie about a scientist who died from snakebite and then say out loud "what a silly man". Kat is taking great delight in telling me to shush.
It's such a beautiful day that we're walking the dog again. I'm really enjoying the contemplation of being quiet. Is Kat deliberately misunderstanding all my gestures, or am I unintelligible? A bit of both. Try miming "Here is my secret stash of sticks if you're looking for some to throw for the dog in future."
I realise how much of my normal speech is just silly puns and jokes, both of which are very hard to do with gestures.
Luckily I haven't yet had to interact with any strangers alone. Kat handles the ticket woman at the castle, and I'm doing a smile-and-nod-politely to the other walkers we've seen out.
We bump into a few friends in town, but Kat kindly tells them that I'm not talking today.
On my own I would have transgressed all sorts of English social niceties.
Accidentally spoke again. I swear it's computers that put me off.
Watching a Charlie Chaplin movie, Modern Times. Now there's a man who can do silence well.
Pub quiz, this is the home straight. I've got a pen and paper, all I have to do is avoid saying hello to our team mates as they arrive (failed on the first one) and shouting out the answers.
Several people start conversations with me in the pub and I look awkward. Luckily Kat explains that I'm not speaking, and it makes me smile that none of them seem surprised!
It's been a really interesting day. Being silent (or trying to) has been very relaxing and a good experience. Give it a go!
In ten days we're leaving the UK for new adventures in Spain...Read more
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