"The sounds of silence are a dim recollection now, like mystery, privacy and paying attention to one thing - or one person - at a time. " ~ Maureen Dowd
I've kept this quote on my desk for months now, affirming what I've been feeling, yet unable to put into such succinct language. Validating my dissatisfaction with the instrusiveness of private conversations held in public spaces - what are these people thinking?! My growing annoyance with all the noise and distractions I encounter, my frustrations with unsolicited calls and the daily deluge of unrequested catalogs and fliers. My outrage when, once again, we have to deal with compromised credit cards. Mainly, making me painfully aware of my own inattentiveness and the cost thereof.
So, I'm taking a stand to reverse this tide in my own environment and to focus on my own behavior. With far greater effort than I had anticipated necessary, I'm
- stopping whatever else I'm doing when John comes to talk to me, and asking that he do the same for me,
- tuning out distractions when I'm on the phone,
- answering only those phone calls from sources I recognize - thank heaven for caller identification,
- taking care to hold my cell phone conversations, even the briefest, out of the earshot of others,
- turning off even background music when reading or journaling,
- selecting only quiet places to meet a friend or acquaintance so we can focus on our conversation,
- driving in silence, no cell phone, no radio - well, maybe NPR now and then,
- leaving my headphones and books on tape at home when I go for a walk,
- taking greater precautions, being more diligent than ever, with disseminating any personal information to anyone other than our trusted circle of friends and family,
- and especially, paying attention to finishing one task before starting another - personally, my biggest challenge.
Do I think any of this will impact the reality that Dowd so aptly describes? Of course not, but, short of moving to Walden Pond, it's the best I can come up with right now.