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Monday, February 21, 2011

No Talking

I spent a couple of days last week unable to talk. I had a cold and a sore throat for a couple of days, then one night I started to sound like a goat doing a Clint Eastwood impersonation. The next morning I opened my mouth and nothing came out.

It was an awkward couple of days.

Because I’m one of those people who considers all silences to be awkward silences. If there is a break in a conversation that last more than one complete breath in and out, I’m likely to fill it. Sometimes what I fill it with is just a long string of English language words that aren’t connected in any way. But at least someone’s talking.

I know that this makes me kind of annoying. I volunteer at a community center for mostly Spanish speaking immigrants and whenever I am driving anyone who doesn’t speak English, the drive is the longest most uncomfortable minutes of my year. It just seems rude to not comment on the weather or say something about a billboard or heavy traffic or light traffic or the new restaurant in that plaza.

How do you say “So, what else is going on with you guys?” in Spanish?

I know from past experience with laryngitis that the only cure is not talking for a long stretch of time. When I had chronic laryngitis in college I was prescribed a silent weekend, which is a bitter pill, let me tell you.

I tried to remember the rules of the Silent Weekend during this latest bout with laryngitis, but as it turns out, there is only one rule and its: Don’t Talk.

That is ridiculously hard. I visited my sister in Cleveland and when we arrived, she was in another part of the house. “I thought it was you, but then I didn’t hear you talking, so I figured it must be someone else.”

You never realize how obnoxious you are until you’re forced to act like a normal person and the difference is staggering.

Very few questions can be answered with a simple yes (nod of head), no (shake of head), I’m not sure (puzzled look with squinted eye), kind of (make small sideways figure 8 with face while looking straight up.) Almost everything requires words.

I somehow managed to get through it and my voice is coming back slowly. Right now I’m at the Angie Harmon stage and if I’m lucky I’ll be at Suzanne Pluchette from my college days, in a week or so.