Some of us search for all our lives. We ask, “when will it get quiet? When will I have a moment to think?” I’m sitting in the library. The quiet room specifically. I have my notebooks, workshop stories, a book and various pens and highlighters splayed out before me. I’m ready to do some serious work. I chose a single desk with a built in lamp growing out of the middle. It looks like an upside down L, the light hanging off the overturned arm. And resting on the arm is a little blue placard. In white is written, “Please respect the Q.” I do respect the Q.
As I sit and begin to apply comments to margins I get up and leave for lunch.
When I come back my little desk is still unoccupied. And the Q is still being respected. The room is virtually empty, safe for a few souls drinking large coffees and snacking on lemon bread. But the quiet is so deafening that I find it hard to concentrate. The Q isn’t respecting the C because in this case the C needs to be loud. Very loud. Not the loud of unbearable silence but the type of loud that pulses. The rumbles the floor. That would get me kicked out and removed from the library.
Why can’t I respect the Q. Is it because I am being told too? I could do it on my own, this is a library.
I suppose it has to deal with my own anxieties. That nervousness that resides in the fact that if I make a noise while all others are respecting the Q, then I am shameful. But, if I stand up and stop on the wooden stage that is my desk while singing a KE$HA song, I may become a favorite story to tell and not the kid with a runny nose.
“Stop sniffling and just go blow it,” the girl with the pink laptop might say. Or at least is thinking.
That is where my mind goes. I am so careful in my motions because it seems as though I am on camera, so why not dance. How did my brain decide that I was on The Truman Show? When did that happen.
Maybe a long time ago.
But anyways, as it goes, I can respect the Q as long as it decides it wants to respect me. While I rant and rave about this loud silence I am aware how insane this makes me seem (and therefore by saying just that and the eventual denial of my own insanity I sound more crazy) I reflect on just how great the silence is. In this new world of go-go-go what appears as insanity is actually clarity. Because it is through the quiet that we become introspective. We take stock of our lives. We see what is at stake and we pace our movements, motions, and thoughts. Not because we are being spied on, but because we are back behind the camera. We once again become the director. We won’t let the sun setting and sunrise that turns our day into the past so quickly get by.
When I was younger I went to the library often. About four times a week. There was a placard on the librarian’s desk. It read, “Silence is Golden.” Going to a Catholic school I always that it had something to do with the Golden Rule. As I got older and organized religion became sort of problematic for me, I took certain things such as the Golden Rule and turned into a principal of living. But I never took with it the golden silence I had often mistaken it with. Older now I realize that sometimes I can become too engulfed in the world. I let others step in, giving cues from the directors seat.
Respect the Q and come back to sanity.