It’s been a long day. Our keys unlock the door to this place called “home” and we drop our belongings on the floor, wondering what to eat for dinner.
Without a second thought our hands reach that all-too-familiar household gadget we like to call “remote control.” Our thumb presses that red power button and in that one swift motion we are overcome by a wall of images, sounds, voices, music. That split second of loneliness subsides and we are now accompanied by friends. Joey, Monica, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe. We get lost with Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid. We fight evil or does evil fight us as we are engulfed by heroes. We are seduced by the bachelorette, or is it the bachelor. We get folded into the lives of Jon and Kate and ooh and aww at their cute little children. All 8 of them. We imagine that we’re standing on the stage before Randy, Paula and Simon, and shake our heads as the contestant chooses another bad song. We cry as Mike has lost another 15 pounds in one week. Oh, but it’s the inner change that really makes the tears well up. We sit quietly… and then not so quietly as Lebron scores an unbelievable shot at the buzzer and crushes the opposing team to a defeated chagrin. Our tongues salivate as the iron chef cooks up another masterpiece of a meal even if the secret ingredient is goat testicles.
What is it that we really want from these 36 inch boxes that emanate made-up stories of strangers? Why is it that we keep it on even if we’re not paying any attention to it? What is it about silence that we cannot stand?
Perhaps we are afraid that the reality of the present life will hit us in the silence. We may become just too aware of our solitude. Maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe we don’t want to face the noise that would otherwise be drowned out by the speakers of our television set. Oh and god forbid we miss an episode of Top Chef, because it will affect our lives if we don’t know who gets kicked off in tonight’s life-defining episode. Maybe it’s more exciting to live vicariously through that couple who is trying to survive on that isolated island. Maybe we always wanted to travel to Alaska and see for ourselves how the polar bears live. Maybe the sadness is too great to bear and laughing at Conan’s quirky jokes is our antidote. Maybe we’d rather just not think. Maybe we’d rather just not live.
Silence. We’ve forgotten what it sounds like. It’s become uncomfortable. It’s become avoidable.
Silence. Please come back. Please invade our lives like we’ve never known and wash over us in the beauty that you are.
Silence. Deafening silence. Be in my life.