Noise. Noise everywhere, all the time, as if silence was a crime. As if the world would come to a screeching halt if it were ever quiet for any amount of time. People speak and speak and speak and speak some more. They talk about everything and nothing all at once. They tell you their views on the way they are living. They share their opinions on the way they feel others should be living. They talk about their clothes, their appearance, their favorite celebrities, their most hated politicians, the prices of things being too high, the quality of other things being too low, the shortage of things, the overabundance of things, and everything between. When people are unable to think of anything to say they resort to making guttural noises. Humans, in general, seem to be horrified of silence. Someone, somewhere, scared the world into believing that the complete absence of sound is an offence, a sin. When people are alone, they turn on loud speakers, blasting music, or whatever is on the television, in an attempt to destroy the horrible lack of noise. Explosions, amplifiers and yelling, we need our sound and we need it loud! Drown the silence, fill the void, and escape the bleak darkness, the nothingness, the quiet.
Once there was a man who got fed up with all the sound, and decided to no longer contribute to it. One morning he woke up to his radio alarm clock blaring the local morning talk show and he was through with it all. He shut off the radio and basked in the beautiful, calm silence. When his wife asked what he would like to have for dinner that day he said nothing. When his boss asked how far he was on his current project, he remained silent. His mother called to see how he and his family were, and though he picked up the phone he gave no response. People worried for him at first, but after awhile concern turned to anger. He went to doctors but nothing was wrong with him as far as the physicians could tell; they had no idea why he would not speak. His wife tried to adapt to her mute husband’s odd behavior but it became too much for her and she eventually left him. After one too many times of giving his customers the silent treatment he found himself unemployed. He kept his phone but calls became less frequent and stopped all together after a period of time. He was alone, silence dominated him, and he was happy. He had no idea what idiotic thing Kanye West had done lately, because no one told him. His head was not filled with the latest on social circumstances because he gave no ear to it.There was no barrage of sound to interrupt his thoughts which often were, “Wow, it is so nice that no one is speaking right now.” He painted, he fished, he worked on his house, and he enjoyed these activities in silence.
After a year of silence it seemed as if the man had grown tired of the quiet, lonely in his self imposed isolation. He grew mad, his thoughts became tangled and unclear. So one Sunday he left his home with the intention of being a part of a conversation, any conversation. He went to a park close to his house and with great excitement looked around for another soul. The park was empty except for the man, even the ducks were silent that day. Frustrated but not willing to give up he walked across the street and into a local church he had never before attended. As he entered the church he saw a sign on the front door that read, “Please be mindful of people meditating. Do not speak, thank you.” Once inside the church, he was surprised to find no one there. He left feeling depressed and decided the local mall was the best solution. The automatic doors swooshed open for him as he walked in, but to his surprise the mall appeared to be deserted. He felt pure panic, as he ran down the length of the building searching for anyone. He yelled at the top of his lungs, “HELLO!” but not only did he not get a response, he could not even hear his own voice. Terror overcame him. He ran to and fro through the stores yelling, silently. Finally he found himself outside of the mall’s gun shop, like the other stores it was empty of people. He picked up a rifle and looked around for the correct ammunition. He loaded it and fired five shots into the glass windows of the store. Shards of glass fell everywhere but refused to make a sound. It was so quiet but he could swear there was a ringing growing louder in his ears by the second. Confused and scared he picked up a loaded handgun, placed the tip to his temple, closed his eyes and pulled the trigger. Silence.
The man opened his eyes, he was lying in his bed and his radio alarm clock was blaring the local morning talk show. He found himself overjoyed to hear voices, astounded to listen to the DJ speak about Kanye’s latest example of lunacy, and even enthused by the sound of commercials trying to sell products. His wife came in and asked what he would like to have for dinner that night. “Whatever you feel like, sweetie, better yet just wear something nice. I’m going to take you out to dinner tonight.” At his job, the man spoke with zeal to his boss about his work. He called his mother and praised her, told her he loved her, and updated her on what his family was doing. He listened to his favorite CD with the volume on full blast as he drove home that day. Halfway to his house a semi truck lost control and struck his vehicle. He woke up in a hospital and though he could see the doctor and his wife speaking only a few feet away from him, he was unable to hear them. He tried to speak but no sound left his lips. The doctor showed him a piece of paper with words hand scrawled on it that read, “You have suffered brain damage,” and, “we are unsure if you will ever be able to speak or hear again.” He was sitting up as he read the paper but once he finished he fell back into his bed. With vigor he shook his head and laughed and laughed though no one could hear him.