Yesterday was the first day of silence I’ve actually looked forward to. REASON: sleeping in and waking up late because I was at the cottage. There’s something about being by the lake with the fireplace stoked and the sounds of loons and owls and coyotes (oh my) tucking me into bed.
*BTW – for some reason, whenever I talk about “The Cottage”, I always feel the need to mention that The Cottage has been in my family for 40 years. God(?) forbid anyone think that I’m well off enough to have bought my own cottage. (It’s not near as satisfying being angry at the unjust distribution of wealth in the world when you’ve got a cottage.)
ANYWAY… finally. A day of silence at The Cottage. I mean look at this picture below. How could I not finally experience some spiritual benefit in practicing the sacred art of silence when the first thing I see when I open my eyes is Back Bay? (Aptly named because it’s a bay. At the back of The Cottage.)
Morning arrived, eyes eventually opened up, then I laid in bed and thought for about 2 hours. (One of my favorite things to do. I think spiritual people call it “meditating” but I think that’s only so no one calls them “lazy.”)
Then breakfast, and then… I talked. FRIG! Like, FULL ON CONVERSATION TALKED! IDIOT!
I think it was the fact that I woke up at a completely different location and my brain had never woken up here and said to me, “Dude – don’t talk!”
However the rest of the day was situationally ideal for a non-talky day. I cut down 7 trees, burned a massive brush pile and chopped wood. A perfect scenario for a day of silence, right?
Nope. You see, for as long as I can remember, whenever I hurt myself I’ve let ‘er rip. Not classy, I realize, but I can’t help it. The pain sensors in my body, somehow got connected directly to my mouth. Maybe it’s an Irish thing. I don’t know. (It kinda reminds me of the short-fused father from the hilarious movie A Christmas Story. “Ragga-fragga-mugga-fugga-shizza…”)
Yesterday was one moment after another of scrapes, punctures, burns, finger and toe smashing events. Suffice it to say there were a fair amount of potty mumbles.
BUT – I do deserve at least one “Attaboy!” While carrying a much deserved bowl of Kawartha Dairy’s bestselling Moosetracks ice cream through the cottage after a hard days work, I forgot to slightly duck as I walked through the kitchen doorway that was built back in the 50s when humans were smaller.
Now, for any person with hair, whacking the top of your head off the door frame hurts. But it’s a completely altruistic experience when you’re bald and the top of your head is already burnt from working outside in the sun all day without a hat. Have you ever peeled an apple with a knife? And you get that nice loooong continuous thin slice of apple peel without taking too much of the apple? Yup that happened. But I didn’t say a @%#&! thing! (Maybe because I had a massive bowl of ice cream to soothe me after I got a booboo.)
However, the best “Attaboy!” moment of the day came when I showered. For the record, I do not recommend exposing a 4 inch X 2 inch raw flesh wound on the head to hot lake water, mixed with perfumed soap – EVER! (I’m thinking of calling the CIA and suggested this as a new form of information extraction method!) I can’t remember the last time I was literally shocked with pain so bad that I let out a guttural scream. I say guttural because (Here comes the “Attaboy!”) I actually kept my mouth closed. After all – this was a day of silence! “ATTABOY!”
Later in the day I realized that I needed supplies from town, which meant interacting with strangers – again. This can be fun, embarrassing, interesting, awkward, and arduously slow all at the same time.
I hesitate talking about the LCBO again. (for the foreigners, this is our communist state controlled chain of stores here in Ontario, which is the only place comrades can buy alcoholic beverages other than beer – OH CANADA!) Two out of my three posts have involved trips to this sacred institution. I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m part of a small group that meets weekly in a church basement … “Hello. My name is Drew and I’m an…” (We don’t meet in a church.)
There’s a lady who works at this remote cottage-country LCBO who is known to have the least amount of personality of all LCBO employees. Zero eye contact. Zero smile. Zero pleasantries. I was praying that I wouldn’t be served by… aaaaand she was the only one working!
Because I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I took a few moments to build up the courage to approach Ms. Congeniality with a note on my phone that read, “I’m sorry but I can’t speak. Do you have any Pommies Cider or Innis & Gunn?”
It might have been my overly smiley face compensating for my lack of words, but this infamously cold woman, who would have typically uttered “NO” and then moved on to the next customer, personally escorted me around the store in search of an out of stock product!
Then, when I encountered a problem using the debit machine to pay, she held the machine for me and resolved the issue as our hands touched… it was a tender moment indeed! (I think she likes men who don’t talk.)
At the hardware store, I showed a similar note to the manager, hoping they had Pommies Cider and Innis & Gunn. (For the foreigners – that was a joke.) He wasn’t able to find what I was looking for so, after a bit of back and forth with me writing notes on my phone and this poor schmuck having to interpret all the follow up questions I had, I ended up just using body language. We played Hardware Charades (Brought to you by Black & Decker) for what seemed to me like an hour and the next thing I knew, there were 3 staff helping me. All interpreting my hand and facial gestures. Guess they wanted to join in the game as well.
So far, everyone has been overly helpful. Everyone except those in my family. They seem to take great joy in intentionally misinterpreting what I’m trying to say. The more insane the interpretation the bigger the laugh. My inside thoughts: “NO I’M NOT ASKING IF YOU’VE EVER DRIVEN A NUCLEAR SUBMARINE BEFORE! Jerks.
When strangers interact with me, I wonder if they see me as a “special needs” person (Insert joke here.) because everyone has just been so overly kind and helpful. The only person exasperated with me so far, has been – me!
Spiritual Benefit During My 3rd Day Of Silence = 1 (I’ll tell you more about this another time because this post has gone on longer than a TED Talk!)