A few weeks ago I visited Rabi in NYC. It was an relatively ad hoc trip – I owed her a visit, and she was free for a few days. Things just fell into place.
Rabi and I are not the bloggers we once were; both of us allow our domains to fall into silence for weeks or months at a time, when the span used to be days or mere hours. One might imagine, then, that we had more to talk about than usual, having missed so much errata, minutia, and other blog-worthy details of life.
Not quite. In fact, upon my departure I had the distinct impression that we had spoken markedly less than in any previous encounter. The quantity changed, though the quality of the conversations wasn’t any more or less.
It made me think: do I speak less now, in general?
I’m quite sure that I do. At work I am almost entirely autonomous, and spend long stretches of my day quietly creating project plans or proofreading. Elise and I operate on slightly less words than we used to, if only because it takes less to communicate our meaning these days. And, I despise the phone, as ever. Yet, even in public situations – in meetings or dinners or parties – I have the perception that I’m saying a lot less than I used to.
The next question in sequence is: why? The easy answer is “circumstance,” but all of the circumstances that surround me are ones that I manufactured for myself, which leads us to a second “why.”
Do I just have less to say? Am I becoming less self-involved as I (presumably) mature? Am I growing more comfortable with myself, and in turn with the silences that surround me?
Does it mean that I’m listening more? Or, am I more introverted – less likely to expose myself to others?
Looking back into the microcosm of Rabi and I, walking in circles in the East Village and around the Seaport, I can see a little of each reason. I’m sure there are days where one dominates, and others where they are equal.
It just makes me wonder: where did all those other words go?
I hate the phone, too. But I’m mature to the point of decrepitude and I’m still pretty self-involved.
Perhaps you discovered that it’s not quantity but quality that really counts.