Have you ever spent a week without talking? Not a word, not a phone call, not even singing along with ABBA songs on the radio? I’m finding it quite difficult. I’m under doctor’s orders to not speak for a week to relax my jaw. Love that TMJ.
It’s easiest not to talk while at work. My co-workers support me, and chide me when I slip and say something. They warn visitors that I cannot speak. For the past week I have communicated with them through gestures, facial expressions, a notepad, and computers. My handwriting has become illegible even to me. I am ashamed that I didn’t think of using my computer’s text editors during face-to-face “conversations” until Wednesday. Walking around the school was hard until I started wearing a badge with the note “Per doctor’s orders, I am not allowed to talk for a week. Please be patient.” Thank goodness I hadn’t thrown out my ALA badge and lanyard!
Shopping is harder. Check-out workers expect some amount of small talk. I have given in and said “Thank you” a few times. The most frustrating retail experience I had this week, though, was at a massage studio. I requested an appointment via email explaining how I was not allowed to talk, etc. When I arrived at the studio for my appointment, the receptionist had not been warned. She asked for my name, I handed her my ALA badge. She gave me an odd look, so I turned the badge around with the note. She still didn’t get it. So I got out a notepad and wrote “I have an appointment at 6pm.” Oh, the light finally dawned on her marble head. Luckily the massage was worth the hassle of the check-in.
Surprisingly, the hardest place not to talk is when I am at home. I’ll accidentally yell “Allez! Allez!” at the Tour de France riders on the tv. I want to sing while I do the dishes. Worst of all, I can’t speak with my cats. They are confused by me humming. They start purring, I want to start cooing.
If the gottverdamte TMJ-induced earache disappears, I’ll be able to speak again on Tuesday. If not, another doctor’s visit. Yuck.
Top 5 Benefits of Being Voluntarily Mute
1. I don’t have to answer my phone. I can let it ring and ring. I’ve always hated talking on the phone.
2. Soy-enhanced fruit juices are tasty. This week’s liquid diet is probably more healthy than my regular diet.
3. No guilt eating ice cream every day. Wait, what was that about a better diet?
4. My verbal anomia has disappeared.
5. My jaw does hurt less.