Comfortable Silence

by twofiftyorless

I could so some of my best thinking here.

It is funny, really. I often prefer solitude (away from public places), but in of a couple of minutes I could see more than twenty people, know each of them, and they may not say a thing. We may make eye contact, but only for a brief moment. We may exchange a head nod, perhaps, but no true conversation. Even better still, each person would remain as far apart from me as possible.

This only rarely happens elsewhere in life, both parties (even if only mere acquaintances) being comfortable in not speaking. Ironically, whether in line at the DMV, standing side by side in an elevator, or seated on a bus or train, they may not want the other party to talk to them either, but are compelled somehow to start conversation themselves. Someone is inevitably going to give in to a perceived social pressure and begin to speak (even when they do not want to); they cannot help themselves.  Without action, there would be only awkward silence.

I can think of no other environment that encourages its inhabitants to transcend traditional social convention and embrace silence, even in the presence of company. For that reason alone, I could stand here needlessly for minutes, if not hours, every day if the floor were not so sticky and the air so filled with pungent odors.

Perhaps I should install a urinal adjacent to my desk at work.