Sometime between 12pm and 3am on Thursday morning something or someone stole my voice. Enforced silence does not suit me. Unlike my colleague who disappears by choice to a silent retreat for a month each year, being mute leaves me in a state of amputation.
A horrible truth has settled over me with this gag. Very little of the words I spew forth everyday are of any consequence. In fact when reduced to hand gestures and post-it notes, I have found that I have hardly anything to say at all. For a writer, it is a bit shocking.
As for sign language, it only works when both parties know what the signals mean. You may end up dead, like that poor chap in a bar in the USA who tried to order a whiskey using American Sign Language and was shot by a cop who thought he was making gang signs. There are some universal signs that transcend hearing or speaking disabilities, of which I have made great use of. These are vital when some smart ass tries to take the piss out of you and you can’t say anything in return.
Most of the time I resort to waving my hands wildly in the air as if I were playing some demented game of charades. I have never been good at charades. My children think it is hilarious and my husband enjoys it far too much for my liking.
People keep telephoning me to ask how I am or to ask me to do something or answer a survey. While very grateful that they care, I end up whispering into the phone while they speak louder and louder saying, “Hello! Hello! Hello!” There’s nothing wrong with my hearing and it doesn’t matter how loud you speak, I can’t return the favour.
One thing that has been highlighted to me is that most people, me included, don’t listen very often. It seems we chirp on regardless of what the other party says or doesn’t say according to our own assumptions of how they should respond. It’s almost as though they exist merely to give credence to our own outpouring of meaningless verbosity.
The lesson is that I think we should be more careful with our words. We use them carelessly, sometimes with malice aforethought and little consideration given to their consequence. In the past two days I have realised that if we just all shut up, we’d get more done, politicians would be out of business and we’d all be happier people.
I vaguely wonder what I said on Wednesday that was so horrible the spirits saw fit to take a toilet brush to my throat.
Even for karma, I think it is a bit rough.
PS: Can anyone explain why when I Google Image Search for “toilet brush down throat”, I get a picture of Tom Cruise?