But Then, When We Talk, Nothing Changes So She Chooses Silence
Silence says so much, sometimes too much.
So many times have I walked into places and said hello in my 'spunky-chipper-I-just-raged-up-all-my energy-for-this-very-moment, and I'm not sure why they haven't said a damn thing back to me voice, and then in return I've gotten, silence. At that point I can tell this is gonna be fun. You see, I was raised by an introvert, and an extrovert. My mother, a popular extrovert from Baton Rouge, Louisiana threw big parties and in the midst of them raised me on common southern and sometimes just plain ole 'old folks' rules. What were they:
- Speak when spoken to
- Stay outta 'grown folks business' ('grown folks business' being any words the people taller than you were saying)
- No talkin' back
The rules were so real to me, that just last year (I'm now almost 29 years old-mind you) when she visited me, I snappily responded to something she said and she flashed an eye at me, and my reply was, 'Ouh, sorry, I forgot who I was talking to,' yes, like that. Respect your elders. Respect people, period. And my Dad, o my Daddie (the introvert) he spoiled me rotten with conversation and attention (when he could manage to escape work) and because as a young girl, I craved it, I find it odd when people don't say shit. Because when we had our quiet time, it was very quiet. He'd go hours not speaking sitting next to me. He taught me to value my time to myself. If I tried to interrupt him, he didn't shoot off at the mouth like my Mom, he just simply ignored me until he got good n' ready. From that point forward I've always taken silence when you've spoken to someone, or non-responsive behavior, very seriously. Like, no response, seriously? That is very intentional. For me, at least. I don't see a person's non-response as accidental. I mean sure, there's a head space a person can be zoned into, but when they come up for air, (I'm an artist I know) they remember those they need to reach out to, and they do so. Those that do not, well it's a blatant ignore. Words are like sugar for me, just a bit sweetens, too much causes cavities, but right in the middle... it's like mixing warm sunshine with a bubble bath... It's like speaking magic 'Let's stay up all night discussing Didion? Rap music's influence on society? Care Bears or Smurfs? Legos or Transformers?' MmMm yummy sweet conversation. My Dad read books and newspapers every morning when I was a child, by his lonesome, before the birds woke, at the round kitchen island table - and still to this very day, clips out things he thinks I have time to read, and I do, at least I try. But what I find most respectable about him is his careful attention to the words he uses when he speaks to me. I attribute this to him having lived in different countries and that he speaks different languages, but still. He's careful what he says, and also, what he does not say. It's often that because I'm a communicator (and usually an over-[shameful downward head]-communicator) that silence blares violently loud to me. Because so many times it's been that small effort to explain, or the few seconds it takes to say 'this is why this happened'â€” that has changed not just perspectives for me, but changed my mind entirely and caused me to take action. I thought an old boss of mine hated me for four years simply because she didn't speak to me in the mornings. She spoke to everyone else that passed, but me, despite my 'heys!' or 'good mornings!' she stared off disregarding my presence. There is a difference between someone who ignores someone, but this girl, would altogether NOT see me. The afternoons she was fine, seemingly unphased by me, and strongly and rather completely indifferent toward me. Finally, she gave me a very high review at the end of a quarter once and I commented, (I was young) 'All this time I'd thought you didn't 'like' me, you never speak in the mornings when I say hello.' Her response was simple: 'Liking you is not my job, you do good work, and I don't speak to anyone I don't have to speak to before I have my second cup of coffee.' That bitch got me two (very tiny) raises and I learned a lot from her. I was just apparently not on her priority list of people she had to speak to on any morning. A simple 'hello,' navigates differently reaching the more ridiculous synapses in my brain and it says to me a whole lot more than silence does. Just like a look can say more than hello, an ity gesture can shout crescendos. Few people have reduced me to silence. Being a writer I've always found more luck in sharing my stance, than the abysmal whist. The huff n puff never got me anywhere, but a professional letter - I turn into Wonder Woman! If I am ever quiet there are a few things going on, please allow me:
Because I've probably realized that When We Talk, Nothing Changes, So I Have Chosen Silence. Which is again, very intentional. My old friend used to have a problem shopping in places where when you walked into their store, the workers didn't speak to you. A while back I was in Visuals (I did lights, aesthetics, and dressed mannequins) at Abercrombie & Fitch and know first hand how that store wasn't always peppy, at least not my location. Basically the models stood there and didn't speak. I don't think I'd fully realized the affect silence had until I was standing around with them, not speaking, it's like the environment follows suit. Today, I second my friend. If I walk into a store and the employees don't speak, or worse, I speak and get no response, they will get extra negative zero dollars from my pocketbook, I promise. Matter fact, I'm turning around and shopping somewhere around friendly people who will acknowledge me. I'm a human, I deserve human interactions. If words are rock candy for me, good conversation is an excuse to get a stomach ache. It's the subtleties that matter. I don't need any grandiose gallivanting or enormous bouquets, but a nod or a text hello every now and now (!) ... is the sweetest thing a person can do.
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