One of the best things about getting up early in the morning is the silence. The dogs and the husband are still in bed and the telephone hasn’t started ringing with telemarketers. If I walk outside on the porch, the only thing that will break the silence is a fish rolling in the water. I can actually hear myself think, I can hear the occasional owl hooting or, as happened the other morning, the whipper-wills. It is a peaceful kind of silence.
My husband and I each grew up with a parent who talked far too much. Early on we promised each other that we would not emulate these parents as we got older. So far, we’ve kept to it. My husband is now extremely hard of hearing, so unless he is sitting in front of me, looking at me, he doesn’t hear anything I say. So I don’t say very much unless it is something extremely interesting or important. He spends his time doing research on his hobbies, so his concentration is such that he doesn’t talk much either. So I am used to the quiet and I like it. I’m not someone that needs the background noise of the TV so I don’t feel alone. Our silence is not borne of anger, but of a respect for each other’s space.
My mother used to use silence as a weapon of emotional abuse. If she was angry or if I wasn’t doing what she thought I should be doing, I’d get the silent treatment. She and I would go for months not speaking, and twice, it lasted for over a year. It didn’t bother me. It was a refreshing change from her constant talking – telling me about people I didn’t know, their children and their lives; taking verbal jabs at me and my husband, who she disliked. I found a way to mentally check out, but retained the appearance of listening intently and with the occasional “hmm”, or “I see”. After she died, I didn’t miss the verbal onslaught.
So that is probably why I am okay with silence. If I want conversation, I can always talk to the dogs.