To begin with we had to listen to the safety regulations, which, “due to technical difficulties,” were given twice . And of course federal regulations state the we still have to be told how to insert (and release, thank goodness) our seat belts. Then there is the announcement about “Duty Free”, followed by the stewardess walking down the aisle waking everyone up with “Duty free? Duty free?” every ten seconds. I have no idea if anyone on my flight bought anything--maybe 200 cigarettes for 27 euros. As you know, that’s just one of many announcements on a plane that break the silence. I’m sure you have your list of favorites.
Then there is your seat mate, or mates if you’re unlucky. Mine was a very, very, very nice woman who wanted to talk--to tell me about the Irish wedding she attended, and how she got a new passport just in the nick of time after discovering that her old one would expire before she got home. Of course she asked me where I had been, where I liked to travel. You know how it is; all that travel chatter that we are expected to exchange with whatever stranger the fates have placed in the seat next to ours. It’s just what nice people are supposed to do.
Except that nice person that I am, I didn’t want to chat. In fact, I couldn’t muster a word, nor could I make eye contact, and I decided not even to try. All that silence at the cottage and then the silence, mixed with too much chatter on the trip, had me feeling comfortable with a rhythm that included more silence in my life. I just didn’t want to participate in so much talk. I wanted to play by my new rules, and so I did—but very, very, very nicely, of course.