February 14, 2002

Zen and the Economy of My Words

horoscopeI’ve got laryngitis. The rest of my body feels fine. In fact, my throat and voice box feel completely normal. It’s only when I attempt to speak that I even realize I’ve got a problem. I’m revisiting puberty as my voice cracks and jumps two octaves without prior notice. But this might be a good thing.

Co-workers don’t expect you to answer them. In fact, you aren’t called upon at meetings to report. If you try, you are given sympathy (a valuable commodity in the workplace).

It can be a problem in an emergency, like when your 3 year old is running away from you in a very public and potentially dangerous place. Yesterday, I instinctively yelled out for her to “come right back here this minute!” The thought flowed so easily out of my mouth. Yet the words simply curdled. I was simultaneously shocked and amused (and couldn’t run fast enough after that giggling little child). If it were possible, I would have laughed out loud.

Yet there is something Zen-like about this condition. I am forced to consider my words (both in content and by sounds I can actually produce). Economy of chat. It’s like editing my written words but in real time. Even my writing feels more compact (isn’t this the shortest post I’ve ever made?).

I talk too much. I’m enjoying both this silence and hesitation. It feels very, very good.

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