Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A Resounding Silence

Late in March, I came down with a cold and lost my voice completely for three and a half days. Fortunately, my job can largely be performed without actually speaking to anyone. Tom needed a ride to the airport at 4:45 a.m. on one of the mornings I couldn’t talk, and my first impulse was to say “No!” Actually, I did ask, “Are you morally opposed to SuperShuttle?” (this was before I lost my voice) and he explained that they wanted to pick him up at 3 a.m., which I could sympathize with. He does favor after favor for me, so I agreed to drive to the airport with him and return the City CarShare car to its pod afterward.

At night, when I go to bed, I ask myself, “What did I do today that was great? What do I feel remorse about? What am I grateful for?” These all have to be interpersonal events, things that happened with other people. I had asked Tom to pick up the car in the morning and swing back by our building to fetch me afterward so I could sleep for as long as possible, but I ended up being awake at 4:20 a.m. and decided to walk over to get the car with him, so he wouldn’t have to go alone. When he came out of his apartment, I smiled instead of frowned. And when we couldn’t figure out how to do this, that and the other in the Mini Cooper and he was getting stressed out, not being able to say anything whatsoever prevented me from asking, “Why did you reserve a car for just going to the airport that’s so hard to drive (and is also more expensive than some of the other choices)?” So that’s what I did that day that was great, and it was fun driving back from the airport with my arm hanging out of the window into the cold morning air, with the musical stylings of Metallica coming out of the sound system.

I looked online to see what to do about laryngitis and saw some advice to chew up and swallow an entire clove of raw garlic. This I did, against my better judgment, and will not do again. However, chewing raw ginger seemed to shock a few syllables into emerging.

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One afternoon, I spilled the better part of a cup of hot chamomile tea onto my desk and watched awestruck as it soaked a bunch of papers, sloshed underneath my turntable and around my computer and a box of Puffs with Lotion, and dripped down onto my shredder, some electrical wires, and the floor. Wow. At least it wasn’t a chocolate milkshake, one more argument for avoiding sugar.

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At the soup kitchen, I sat handing out numbers, consciously feeling my chest and stomach area, and mentally encouraging myself to relax and make space for what was felt there. Suddenly the guest sitting next to me said, “You’re a nice lady. Thank you for letting me sit next to you.”
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