In a column last week in The New York Times, Bob Herbert lamented the fact that so many of us are going through life with cell phones glued to our ears. He admonished folks to "stop talking so much. Listen. Other people have something to say, too. And when they don't, that glorious silence that you hear will have more to say to you than you ever imagined."
Or, as Claude Debussy said, "Music is the space between the notes."
All I'll say is, you folks who don't value silence, well, you've never met my family.
I did a quick noise test while I was writing this column. I sat at the computer for five minutes to just listen.
The first thing that happened was the phone rang.
I got off the phone, and tried again. This is what I heard:
• The dog barking to be let in.
• The dog eating noisily from a metal food bowl.
• My daughter asking how much longer I was going to be on the computer.
• My son scooting something large and heavy across the floor of his room upstairs.
• The cat meowing to be let in.
• My daughter practicing the piano.
For those of you who wonder when I do my writing, it's usually after 10 p.m., when I can be assured that all the other creatures in the house are asleep and no longer capable of consciously interrupting me.
I like my silence. When I go out for walks, I don't plug anything into my ears. (Of course, I've been reluctant to put anything in my ears since Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.) I prefer to walk around the track at the neighborhood park, not having to pay attention to traffic or bumps in the curb, just listening to the rustle of leaves, the birdsong, the barking of far-off dogs. My mind is free to wander. I've solved quite a few tricky problems that way.
Last weekend, our family came home from a road trip in separate cars. The kids rode with my husband. "It must be quiet in Mommy's car," my daughter said.
"No, not really," my husband replied. "She's got mix tapes playing with the volume turned up as loud as it will go."
The man knows me well.
OK, so maybe silence isn't always golden.
Contact Lisa Davis at 256-235-3555, firstname.lastname@example.org