Do you know the sound of silence? Does anyone?
We live in a noisy world. This was driven home to me last week when my cellphone fell into the water and in spite of being placed in a bag of rice to dry out has not come back to life. Several people have asked if I have replaced it. Not yet, I replied, but soon.
The first day the phone was dead, I had a lengthy meeting. Since my phone has a clock on the screen I quit wearing a watch years ago. During the meeting, I reached several times for my shirt pocket out of habit to check time and see if any text messages had arrived, along with emails or phone calls.
By the end of the day the silence of not having my phone was getting deafening. It made me wonder if going without should last longer as an experiment. The main disadvantage was not hearing from my family members. Once, in my car, I turned the radio on. It had been so long my satellite radio subscription had lapsed, and I didn’t even know.
Switching over to talk radio the commentators made me realize within minutes why the satellite subscription had been necessary. Talk radio may have been the original Facebook if you think about it. Where else can people say such stupid things? And it just goes on and on.
With the radio off, silence returned. The beauty of it was stunning. By the end of the week I was surveying the other invaders of my wonderful newfound friend silence when the white noise began to be more evident. How about no click when the thermostat triggers the air conditioner. The wind blowing cool air through the vents is an invasion worth having. By morning the motor of the refrigerator was the sole invasion.
By the way, with the whole Redskin issue with the Washington team how much longer will we be able to call it white noise?
It is hard to say how long I will go with the experiment of not replacing my phone. By all measures, it will probably last about 72 hours. Even with a fully functional phone my habit of late is to keep the ringer on silent and just return any missed calls. Thinking back to my 30s when I was fully enslaved to any call to prove how available I was, it made me wish to have the wasted time back.
Text messages don’t make much audible noise but bring plenty of visual noise and mental clutter.
Fortunately my contacts and calendar were backed up to the cloud, so that won’t have to be recreated. It is really tempting to revert to my landlines at home and work to take calls and reclaim the rest of my time.
Has anyone out there had the same impulse? Anyone with enough courage to do without a cellphone at all? I heard of a 30-something who took the drastic step of not having a smart phone and reverted to a ’90s-style flip phone. What a man. Running full-speed back toward land while the lemmings march with a fixed gaze into the sea.
If anyone out there would like to tell us what it is like to do without a cellphone for more than just an experimental phase, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who knows? Silence could be the next big thing.