Thursday, February 02, 2006

Seeing My Shadow

Happy groundhog's day. Be nice to your groundhog.

I feel a bit groundhoggy myself today. My department at work takes a break together once a week to gnosh over popcorn, but because I fear routine, I look for ways to mix it up. Lately three of us have been subtly acting different during the meeting: week one was talking in sports metaphors, week two was speaking just barely above a whisper. So far nobody's noticed, but I've noticed some quirks about how I conduct myself in conversations.

I don't want to be the center of attention, per se. I just want to be a vital part of moving the conversation forward. Not being much for sports, I panicked during week one, because I was injecting myself into the conversation so often that I ran out of jockstuff to say. Week two was worse: in order to be heard while speaking so softly, I had to either (a) limit my comments to an audience of one or two rather than the table of ten or (b) wait until everyone else quieted down to make my statement. So I wound up being the center of attention everytime the conversation came to a halt. It was uncomfortable, it was awkward, it was crosscultural.

I got a sense of the push and pull of loud time: for noise to have meaning requires a give and take, each person attending to the experience as their true self while making space for others to be at home as themselves. It's awkward, uncomfortable, crosscultural, even, but loud time in the best sense.

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