Silence is a peculiar thing.
I'm very fond of it, generally speaking. Reading a book by the fire with a cup of tea? Silence is wonderful. Trying to concentrate over a tax return? Silence is essential. Sunny day in the garden with a beer? Silence is the cherry on the cake, if damned near impossible to experience.
But there is another side to Silence. I'll even give it a capital letter to give it some presence. Fans of my blog from way back will tell you that I do that a lot with concepts, especially my emotions. For example, from my very first blog entry back in May:
Sleep eludes me. Mischief is dancing round the bed. Though it may be Misery; the light is bad.
Anyway, Silence. Of all the answers you can receive for your actions, Silence is the most confounding. It can mean so many different things, despite being - by definition - nothing. These things can be good, bad, and indifferent. But it's hard to be sure; it's left entirely up to your mental outlook and interpretation.
Of course, the sane, balanced mind would not waste time over-analysing it.
Which is why I bring it up.
Timewarp back a while...
I'm sitting at my desk in a comfy chair, pondering my next blog entry. My previous entry took quite some time to write, and I'm proud of it. But no comments. Nada. Frustrating, but I'm not taking it to heart, I'm not dwelling on it. As I've said before, I write for me; if other folk like what I write, great. If not, so be it.
But then there's an urgent, quiet little knock at the door. As I turn, Paranoia comes in uninvited. He's a quiet, thin, slightly fey young man, and I've not seen him in a while. He doesn't look well. He offers his opening gambit:
They didn't like it much, you know.
Excuse me? *
Your blog entry. They didn't like it.
What makes you say that?
Well, isn't it obvious? They left no comments.
Yeah, but it's not compulsory!
Well yes, but when people like something, generally they say something, don't you think?
Not necessarily. Besides, I'm not sure if anyone even read it.
Well, your stats look good for today.
I wonder why they didn't like it? It took you ages.
Yeah, and I like it a lot, but that doesn't mean they will.
You're right. There's no reason to think they'd think it was funny.
What do you mean?
Well, your sense of humour is a bit unconventional.
Well, most bloggers write about things that happen to them.
Well, you just make things up!
Not all the time!
I suppose you do have a pretty uneventful life...
Most folk probably save their comments for the best blogs.
Hoo boy. Would you consider hush money?
It was way too long and complicated, in any case.
Look, you're gonna have to leave.
People don't like to leave negative comments. It's bad etiquette.
That's crap! Now, get out! I'm not kidding!
Yessir, that Silence is a blessing.
I'll get the door, walk this way.
Most of them probably clicked away before reaching the end.
Left. Them. Cold.
And so on.
[* Saying Excuse me? is a new habit. English people don't say it, except when we bump into people. When we don't understand or are confused, we say I'm sorry? or Pardon? or Yer wot? This new thing is acquired from American TV shows.]
Anyway, I throw Paranoia out and slam the door. I calm down. I quickly rattle a new entry blog off, and add a nice homebrew picture. Yes, I like it, and within minutes the comments start to arrive. Nice. But odd. It does make me wonder if there really is something wrong with the earlier entry? I put those thoughts aside and think no more about it. Until...
Timewarp to this morning
I'm catching up on the overnight blogs. Some of them make me laugh, some make me think. I post quite a few comments as I go, all good humoured.
I then read an entry from one of my favourite bloggers. It stops me dead. It's a difficult memory, a menacing and violent one, with even more dangerous overtones. A tale of grace under fire, of resolve, determination, heroism, and escape.
I want to leave a comment, to high five my friend and say something meaningful. But after staring at the comment box for ten minutes and trying a few sentences on for size, I can't find the words. I'm overwhelmed by the feelings the entry has dug up. The words I do find sound trite or weak or patronising or some other damned thing.
And so I abandon my effort and move on.
I leave no comment.
It's no big deal, there's a perfectly good reason.
Coffee and breakfast don't wash this event from my mind. I left no comment. I keep reminding myself that it's no big deal. But it nags at me nonetheless. Reading that post was hard, but writing it must have been downright scary. And eventually, I recall my conversation with Paranoia from a few days earlier.
Yessir, that Silence is a blessing.
I leave my breakfast things unwashed and head back to the computer. I return to my friend's blog, access the comment page, and start writing. It's not elegant, it's not well written, but it's from the heart. I leave the comment and feel I've done something decent with my day.
And 3-2-1 you're back in the room!
There's no intended moral to this story, as the two halves are different sides of the same coin. As Paul Simon almost once said, there must be fifty ways to not leave comments, the best of which is because I choose not to. Enough said.
But I also realise that it's hard to read much that is useful into Silence. It is what it is. Move along there, nothing to see! Literally.
I've also learned, if a lesson was needed, that I am occasionally loopy.
The house is quiet tonight. Doubt keeps me company most evenings, but she's out with Angst; they "need to catch up".
Damn, there goes next week.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009