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No words

At work today, it occurred to me just before noon that I hadn't said good morning — or anything else — to anyone. I'm the not-strong but very-silent type, and if I could go halfway through the day saying nary a word, I decided to see if I could make it mute through the entire day.

My phone never rang, and I when the 'team' line rang I let others answer it. I'm nobody important, so I didn't have any meetings scheduled. On breaks and at lunch, I never hang out with anyone; I sit at my desk and read a book. So yeah, I could do this.

The office has a high-tech messaging system that lets you type a sentence, pick a recipient, and when you hit 'send' your message pops up on that person's screen. Everyone hates it, because the arriving message nudges whatever's already on your screen down a few lines. But I didn't want to talk, so I sent a message to ask my 'lead' a work-related question.

When she came over and answered the question confusingly, I just nodded, pretending she'd made sense. She usually doesn't make much sense so I do a lot of pretending. With my question unanswered I took a guess and moved on; if my guess was wrong then the price of a certain brand of pantyhose at a certain department store might be 30¢ lower than management intended. I can live with that.

In the afternoon, a few people said hi to me in the hallway; I smiled and nodded. Someone came to my desk to ask a question; my answer was a shrug. And then, as I was logging off at the end of the day, putting on my windbreaker for the short walk to my rez hotel, Louie walked by and said "Good night" to me. Instinctively I replied, "Good night."

Damn it, I'd spoken — but it was a minute after 5:00, so I'm declaring the experiment a success: I worked an eight-hour shift without saying a word to anyone. Next challenge, let's see if I can do it again tomorrow. Or maybe all next week.

From Pathetic Life #2
Thursday, July 7, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

 

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