Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A Week Without Speaking

It is perfectly possible to imagine a week without speaking. Obviously, it would be completely impossible to stop those around me from speaking (particularly those under, say, 4 feet tall) and decidedly risky to suggest to anyone over say, 5 feet 11 inches tall that they should not speak as there is a very great danger that it may be irreversible (I'm referring here to teenagers and husbands). That aside, I will now plan my week of silence.

Best to start on a Monday. Probably about 9ish when the children are off at school/college/university. I can vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom. I'm not sure that I can tidy bedrooms without outwardly cursing the fact that I'm picking up wet towels off the bed yet again with the certainty that they'll be back there again tomorrow morning. I will practise silent cursing. I can order my grocery shopping on the internet. When it comes, I'll have to accept all the substitutes.

I could text people. Perhaps even improve my texting skills. I don't usually send texts because it takes me too long which is odd because I can touch type very fast. I suppose that I'm not used to the ordering of the keys on the mobile phone keypad and as we get older we become reluctant to change our ways of doing things.

I could talk to people on MSN or whatever is the in thing at the moment. Except that most people are out and about in the world, not sitting in looking for non-verbal communication. I could look through Facebook, think of witty things to write on people's walls about the exciting things I'm up to but I only joined to keep up with my eldest son and not many grown ups are into that sort of idle chit-chat. Not in writing, anyway.

I could watch television but most of the programmes shown in the daytime are repeats so this would be short-lived as an enjoyable pastime. I could search for houses or clothes on the internet but I did that yesterday.

I could do some cooking, read a book, stroll around the town. Without being able to speak, I would be limited to the thoughts bouncing around inside my head. Which brings me to my point. I've been planning an exercise for a Communications Group for stroke survivors, some of whom are limited to a handful of words. Sometimes we can't find the right words but imagine never being able to find the words. And so we have to look for alternatives to speaking, a new way of communicating ideas and enriching lives. I don't think I couldn't speak for even just a week. Some of them belong to the older generation, some don't but they all have to learn a new way to communicate and that must take a lot of effort. Makes you think, doesn't it?

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