Day 36: Say nothing today.Posted: February 5, 2011
I did manage to be silent for much of the day – reading, mostly – but I can’t not talk to my kids. There are two reasons for this: first, if they ask me a question, they continue to ask it until I give them
an answer the answer they want, and they’ll often keep asking even when I’m trying to answer them; second, if when they’re doing something I don’t want them to do, I have to communicate my displeasure verbally.
So I talked to my kids (though a little less than usual), and a little to my wife, but I also spent long periods of the day not saying anything. For some people, this might be a big deal; it’s not for me. The hardest teaching days – for me – are those when I have to carry the discussion for the whole period; partly this is because it means the students aren’t engaged with the material, which always makes me feel awesome, but mostly it’s because I don’t like to talk that much.
This is not the sort of thing I keep meticulous records about, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if two-thirds of the sentences I say in a given day are left unfinished. When I’m talking to my wife, this isn’t such a big deal (or, if it is, I am woefully ignorant of that fact), because we’ve been married long enough that she can finish them herself (though, again, I might be wrong about this). When I find myself talking to students, though, or in seminars, I usually have to make a conscious effort to speak in actual, complete sentences.
This is not because I’m bad at sentences – I’m pretty damn good at them, if I may say so myself – but because I’m constantly revising them, and this tends to create (long, uncomfortable) pauses when I’m speaking. It’s really pretty bad – any sentence longer than a half dozen words is liable to take me at least a minute and a half to say, and that’s assuming I finish it at all. When I’m typing, though, all that
nonsense bullshit editing revising doesn’t show in the final product.
Anyway. Not talking today – or, rather, not talking any more than I had to, which is about as much as I talk anyway – was fun, if not particularly abnormal. There’s some crazy shit up ahead, though – Day 44? Day 128? Day 190? Day three-hundred-and-fucking-twelve?? Yeah.
Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.