It’s funny how quiet a crowded place can be. I’m sitting in a cafe, a different one than usual, and there are several other customers, enough so that I had difficulty finding a free table, that wasn’t right on top of somebody. And mostly, there is silence. A few people, like myself, tapping away at keyboards of their various electronic devices and such. The occasional beep of some gadget or other, but as far as talking, we are in our own worlds. Silent. Not talking to each other, only chipping away at our projects, and our coffee, in a peaceful calm.
I must admit, there is a certain beauty to the calmness, the quietness, and for me the delight of watching people go about their business, even if it is sitting in relative quietness.
Such a corporate silence, is a treasured state, often I find when I’m out and about a sense of busyness, and people rushing here and there. Never stopping long enough just to enjoy the quiet things. Like a cafe, or if they do, they are not quiet long enough to know the beauty of it. There is a place for liveliness, but there is also a place for calmness, for quietness.
Or perhaps it is loneliness that drives us to our silence, we are quiet because there is no one there to talk to. For a long time one of the things I valued most was my independence, and my ‘personal space’ you might say, but now, I kind of wish that my ‘personal space’ would be imposed upon, that I would delight in the fact that we need other people in our lives. Perhaps we’re afraid that we’ll be intruding, or that if we seem to be wanting to be kind, we will come across as though we are wanting something from them, or perhaps it is that we simply don’t know how to start the conversation.
Take myself for example: I would say that I’m a fairly competent user of the English language, with a fairly rich vocabulary, and I’ve found myself able to write things, forget them, find them, and I myself am astonished by the richness of the written words, but I see all these people, and the first thing that pops into my head is ‘What do I say to them?’ What do I say to the people around me? But mostly, probably a good ninety-percent of it, is getting started in the first place. Consider that every person has something you can learn from them. Every person knows something you don’t know. Every person has talents, and hopes, and dreams, everyone has a story, if nothing else. A life that is uniquely their own. There is always something to be talked about. You yourself have a story, tell it. I have a story too, I should share it.
Again, it is a matter of getting started, telling my story, I do not know where to start.
So I, and all those around me, remain, silent, and while peaceful, the silence of the cafe is also a sadness.