“Sorry about the wait,” the young blonde barista says apologizing for the extra 3 minutes I’ve been waiting in line, ”what can I get for you today?” I felt like I needed to repeat the apology as I pulled out my mini-whiteboard and began writing my order. Normally when I walk into a coffee shop it only takes a moment to order coffee, but today I’m not speaking – which means that EVERYTHING takes longer! As I finish writing my order, she finishes reading the stat at the top of the board:
I’m not using my voice today to be a voice for 1 million children around the world stuck in the commercial sex trade.
“Oh that’s cool,” she says, “how many days are you doing this?” I didn’t have the heart to point out the big black letters on the bottom of the board that read, “10DaysWithout.com.” Instead, I graciously erased my order and wrote:
10 Days, but tomorrow is my last day.
“Wow! That’s amazing. I don’t think I could do it for one day, I’d just end up talking to myself the whole time.”
I knew I should probably admit that I have been talking to myself a lot lately. I went from being able to talk to everybody to not being able to talk to anybody, and needless to say my reflection in the mirror has become a sort-of companion. The only problem with Danny, that’s what I named him, is that he always talks at the same time as me. I guess his mother never taught him the art of listening; either that or he wasn’t paying attention. Regardless of my problems with Danny, I was sympathizing with the girl behind the counter even if I didn’t take the opportunity to admit it.
I erase my purple markings and write, It’s very hard!
“I bet!” She responds, “Good luck!”
Thank you, I write quickly and then begin moving away from the counter. I walk over to my favorite table in the shop. It’s in a corner where two massive window panes come together. During the summer it normally get’s too hot to sit here, but today with the massive rainstorm that we are currently in the middle of – it’s just right. Not only does this seat present the best view of the road, but it also presents the best view of the inside of the coffee shop itself. This allows me to not only eavesdrop on conversations around me (I mean stay in touch with current events), but also allows me to watch the people outside going about their very, very busy lives.
That’s probably one of the few things that has been very noticeable in my life over the past 9 days. Not being able to communicate using my voice has slowed down my life dramatically. In the 2.4 seconds it takes for you to tell the barista your coffee order, it takes me at least 12 seconds just to write out a simple, “tall medium roast decaf coffee.” Sometimes the extra time it takes is frustrating especially when I’m needed for a longer conversation. But then again, is it ever a bad thing to slow down our lives a little bit? What do you think, you may comment below…