Saturday, April 10, 2010

Silence Please

When was the last time you experienced real silence?

Silence is often thought of as the absence of speech. This type of silence can be found in weird places, like the forest, libraries, and Greenland. The absence of speech is often lovely, and after a day at work, where everyone wants you to do something, the absence of speech is what you want most of all. That, and a bottle of vodka.

But no matter how lovely the absence of speech can be, it is not to be confused with actual silence. When you go to the forest, a library, or, God forbid, Greenland, you might not hear nagging, but you will hear something else. In the forest there will be birds singing, deer walking around, cute little mice being eaten by foxes and just the simple sound of the wind in the trees. In a library you’ll hear people whispering, the sound of someone turning a page in a book, and probably the local winos hiding out in the textbook section. On Greenland, there will inevitably be the sound of snow falling, or snow melting, or snow just sitting there, and of course, the sound of Inuits running through the snow to escape the polar bears.

M is in Estonia, again, and I’m pretty used to the relative silence I get in our apartment when he’s gone. I don’t usually talk to myself, and if I turn off the music, the TV and stop typing, I have silence.

Or so I thought.

This morning, I woke up at 6 am by M’s UPS beeping like crazy. It kept beeping for a few minutes, then turned itself, and M’s server, off. And that’s when I noticed it. The silence. We were having a blackout and the back-up power supply to the server was the last thing to go. Even the compressor in the fridge was silent. There were no cars in the road, no electrical buzz that always seems to surround us. Nothing. Only silence.

And that’s when it hit me.

This is what it must be like inside M’s head.

Silence, unfortunately, will also be observed in Poland tomorrow, with two silent minutes, while millions mourn the loss of their leader. The tragic plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski this morning, also killed his wife, Poland's army chief, their central bank governor, and several members of parliament.

Naturally, this is a terrible loss for the Polish people, who lost the entire political elite in one horrific plane crash. With no President, and no army chief, Poland is in a state of shock. With every respect for the people who lost loved ones in today’s crash, I am just going to go ahead and pose the question everyone is asking themselves.

Does this mean Poland is up for auction? *


  1. Real silence in M's head. I love it. Cat has that problem.

    Do you mean Greenland isn't green?

    Sheesh. I bet Iceland doesn't have any ice, either.

    I think I saw Poland on Ebay.

    Seriously, that crash was awful.

  2. ReformingGeek - Hate to break it to you, but Iceland has more in hot springs and high-temperature activity than any other country in the world. They have all sorts of active volcanos and whatnot. But there's some ice too. Like cute little glaciers and stuff.

    Mike - Who are you and what have you done with Mike?

  3. What confuses me about silence is when I escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, my ears still ring for a day or so. It's deafening until day three when the ringing has gone and I can finally appreciate silence.

  4. Tragic loss for Poland. This is going to be an extremely challenging time for them.

    Umm, maybe this isn't the best time to bring this up, but I feel like I must since I've now been here a few times and have openly declared my feelings for you on MikeWJ's blog...

    Where are the cookies? Why haven't you offered me any? I appreciate the recipe for Chernobyl Chicken, but come on! What does one have to do to get cookies around here? I know you've got them. Or at least, I know you say you've got them. But I haven't seen any, and you haven't offered. I'm a little hurt.

  5. Me-Me King - That's some scary shit. Makes you wonder what all that noise is doing to our brains.

    Nicky - You are absolutely right, Nicky, I have been a horrible hostess. I've neglected my cookie responsibilities. I will immidiately start baking cookies. I'll probably have something edible for you in early May. You definitely deserve all the cookies you can eat.

  6. Oh, thank God!

    I thought you were going all Zen in a desperate attempt to encourage us--me, actually--to shut up and say less for once, to take a moment or two or three to be more inward, more contemplative, to stand naked and bask quietly and unafraid in the harsh light of what many people see as the modern tragedy of the constant hum and buzz of post-industrial-revolution life, the unshakeable consequences of a fully invited but ultimately unwelcome technological intrusion that fills our heads and apartments and houses and the world around us with constant, deafening noise that whirls and whirls and whirls around madly until it inevitably loses control of itself and explodes orgasmically in a mind-shattering cacophony of dissonance, breaking us down into a mindless collective that psychically brings jet airplanes full of diplomats crashing to a sudden and fateful stop in the cold heart of the Russian forest.

    Now I feel free again, which is great because what I really wanted to say is that I'm not much of outdoors person, or a quiet person. I always have the television or radio on, even when I'm writing. Sometimes, I have both on. I talk to myself, too, not like a crazy person, mind you, but I have little mental debates and discussions going on in my head about all sorts of things and sometimes they even spill out of my mouth when I don't mean them to. I am noise personified, a fully grown product of the media age.

    Also, I'd love to put a bid in on Poland because I really like kielbasa and pierogies and those little bite-sized pastry things I can never remember the name of that are filled with meats and cheeses and jams, jellies and custard and chocolate. Yummy!

  7. I'm back, baby! Silence is Golden--what a total load of shit!

  8. I'm with Nicky, by the way. I wants my cookies! We wants our cookies!

  9. OMG, did his server boot up aldright later on?? Btw, please don't spread the word on how silent it becomes if the cupboard server gets shut down. It might give out the righ...*cough* wrong message and give certain someone's (who are not so pleased about those machines) funny ideas.

  10. Mike - You said 'naked'... hehe.

    There will be cookies. Don't worry. Well, worry, because I can't promise you my cookies won't make you sick and then you'll be tossing your cookies. I mostly put that up there to lure people over to the dark side. People are suckers for cookies.

    Jonas - Typical of you to worry about the server when I most likely would have died from starvation when the fridge stopped working. Even after the power came back on, I didn't actually boot the server back up until I realized I couldn't access the internet without it. After that, I made sure the server was okay.

    Actually, I might be having coffee with your wife later this week (she hasn't agreed yet, but we'll make it happen), and I will make sure to tell her all about the blessed silence when the server died, how colors suddenly became brighter, and how the headache I hadn't even realized I had, just disappeared. Not, I mean. I will not tell her.

  11. I want to make a bid on Poland! used potatoe, one defective Corel Draw X4 programme, a bowl of dead Easter yellow chicken....and a cookie.

    when do I get my country, formerly known as Poland - now known as Melwind.

  12. Muschu - I'm afraid to ask, but what does a used potato look like? I'll put Melwind in the mail for you. Actually, you can come get it yourself, and you can take my broken bike at the same time.

  13. So you write a post about silence, and then you fall silent for a week. Coincidence? I think not. I you and Muschu are too busy dividing up Poland. I mean Melwind. What's with the name Melwind, anyway?

  14. Mike - Poland is indeed taking up all my time. Between Poland, school, work, preparing my car for summer and helping Muschu with her school work, it's a good thing if I can remember to sleep. I woke up at 5:15 this morning, threw the alarm clock into the wall and my first thought was "I wonder if I slept tonight."

    Muschu has an unhealthy obsession with penguins. She gives her penguins weird names, like Muschu and Melvin, which later became Melwin, and now apparently Melwind. If I'm not mistaken her external hard drive is also called Melwin. And probably her future child, as well.

    Enjoy the silence while it lasts, because I have big plans for tonight. Can we say cookies?

  15. cookies...I can say cookies...does this mean I get cookies...



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