Silence is Golden

Silence. One condition, five different experiences.

1) Exploring the vast expanses of an art gallery, feasting on the fruits of artistic labour. He turns to you and comments on how nice it is to be with someone and to not feel the need to talk. A joke follows to ascertain whether or not he is being sarcastic and if the subtext might be that you talk too much. The confirmation of his sincerity reassures your insecure self. The inexpressible comfort knowing that he is walking alongside you and that he just…knows. You do not have to say a thing.

2) Your fixed stare at a blank computer screen while they are bonding over the latest shortcomings of an absent colleague. The longing to fit in, be accepted, and the allure of the act of participation. The curiosity as to whether or not anyone actually notices that you are not saying anything. The hope that you will be trusted for your silence in the long run juxtaposed with the sacrifice of being seen as boring.

3) Stealing glances in an attempt to establish whether or not he is interested; if his spontaneous text was an attempt to reach out to you or simply a message meant for somebody else. The tension of knowing that he knows that you know that he has not explained himself. Avoiding eye contact for fear that a glance caught might demand an explanation. The clutching at the straws of things that you could possibly say to ease the awkwardness, and the acute awareness of a lack of words that might have the potential to save you from looking like a complete plank.

4) Dinner. They are talking at you, not to you. You can see their lips moving, but you cannot hear what they are saying. They realise that they have been talking for the past half hour and that you have not said a word. Yet, through their own inability to connect with you, they simply continue talking. You sit. You sit and hope that you might get your ‘King’s Speech’ moment before the meal is over.

5) The rare and surprising turn of events when you realise that a thought has not popped in to your head for a good few minutes. You have been distracted by the vast and beautiful landscape before you commanding your stillness, asking that you give yourself permission to be absorbed by your surroundings and inviting you to be part of something bigger than yourself.

Silence. One condition, five different experiences.


The Humble Laundry Basket

Airing my dirty laundry in public…

What object symbolises stability for you?

My mother gave me a cute, white laundry bag with washing symbols on as a gift when I went off to university in 2006. Since then, I have lived in halls of residence, lived with a family, had a couple of rented flats, sublet from friends, and on one occasion stored half of my belongings under my desk at work whilst transitioning from sofa to spare room. The benefits of a laundry bag over this time have been its compactness, its squishability, and its ability to be transported from halls of residence to laundrette to parents’ house with the greatest of ease.

Stability can be embodied by bricks and mortar, a ring, nine to fives with a health care plan, relationships, routines, family or familiarity. Me? I long for a solid, old-fashioned wicker laundry basket. Nothing speaks to me of stability more than a slightly awkwardly placed but very permanent hamper; one of the most humble and homely objects that I can think of.