The Sound of Silence

I was wondering if it would be possible for me to go a whole day without speaking to a single person. I mean, not that I have any reason to attempt this, but how hard would that really be to do? I’m thinking it would be tough. Okay, it wouldn’t be tough if I just stayed home and didn’t pick up the phone. I’ve done that before. In fact I’ve probably gone whole weekends without speaking to a single person.

What I’m saying, is how tough would it be to go to work and get through a day without actually saying a word to another human being. I guess I’m not really sure why one would want to attempt to accomplish such a thing, but what would have to happen in order for someone to be successful at this endeavor?

For starters, they couldn’t have a job as a 911 operator, or an air traffic conrtroller. An attempt at vocal cellibacy in either of these fields would certainly have tragic ramifications. So it seems that the first step in acheiving this goal would be to work in a setting where human interaction is not a specific part of one’s job description.

I work as a children’s book editor. Much of my job relies on me interacting with other editors, art directors, and so on. But like many jobs, we have our slow days. So it is conceivable that I could go an entire day without talking to anyone about any projects or other work related items. However, I’m not a social recluse, as it turns out, so I actually talk to people I work with about matters other than children’s books from time to time. So this also makes it difficult.

So, it seems that the second qualification to achieving this goal is to be somewhat socially retarded. This way you won’t have to worry about people stopping in your cube to see how you’re doing, how your weekend was, or if you’d like to step outside for a cigarette.

But then again, maybe being a person known to socialize would make this effort that much more worthwhile. Would it be possible to go a whole day without hearing from these people? Or to effectively dodge them thoughout the course of a business day? (Emailing them not to stop by your desk would be considered cheating.)

The third consideration for making this happen is lunch. I think it’s clear that you’ll have to bring your own lunch to work. I guess if you went out to eat you could order food from a menu without speaking. But pointing is just rude, though I guess it could be done. Although it occurs to me that you could always buy a sandwich or something from a grocery store shelf. No need to talk to the cashier necessarily. Clearly, however, the Burger King drive-thru is pretty much out of the question.

Other than that, I can’t really think of many other obsacles. I guess there are a handful of random events that could take place, thereby spoiling your efforts. A person could get pulled over by a police officer who suspects that person of driving under the influence. In adminstering the various tests to guage sobriety, it is very likely that they might ask a person to recite the alphabet. At which time all attempts for day long silence would be shot.

Naturally, I’m discounting the possibility that one could just blatantly ignore people or carry some sort of card explaining their situation. This would defeat the purpose of the experiment.

So who wants to try it? I’ve alreay spoken to a couple people today, so I’m out.

Also, I think text messaging is out of the question. As is instant messaging. These would be considered conversation devices and would defeat the purpose of our experiment.

As for what the purpose of the experiment is, well, I guess I’m not really sure. It’s all in the name of science.

4 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence

  1. Oskar Syahbana says:

    It’s communication all the way isn’t it 🙂

    But come to think of it… I once did that. I didn’t talk to a single person for a single day, but oh wait… that’s when I was sick at my boarding house.

  2. Mikey says:

    A speaking strike. I like it.

    Actually, if a hunger strike is a strike against eating, would a stike against speaking be a silence strike?

    Either way, silent but effective.

  3. Mark says:

    I was once toying with the idea of wearing a blindfold for an entire day to see what it was like to go without site. I was thinking more along the lines of doing it on a weekend.

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