Turning Off Our Transmitters This Weekend
I thought of this idea about 17 minutes ago so if it smells "brain fresh," it is.
Here's the idea: don't transmit this weekend.
No Tweets on Twitter. No posts on Facebook. No blog posts. No texts. No outgoing phone calls. No sending emails. Let's even keep the old-school talking to a minimum, eh?
My fingers are shaking as I type this. Gena Davis in The Fly: "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
Yet I find some peace, reading the forecast. It seems like a good weekend weather-wise for stepping away from the PC keyboard and Blackberry - sunny, mild, pleasant. Isn't that how all of us in the Midwest, judge our ability to execute any activity, by the dumb weather? But sure, I wouldn't be dumb enough to present this idea if the Sat-Sun forecast was for clouds, rain and cold. Make it hard, God, but don't make it impossible.
Flipping off our output switch for 48-ish hours seems like a reasonable way to figure out a couple of things.
1. Can we still listen?
Maybe we haven't been listening, REALLY listening for a while - how would we know? We've been too busy hoping someone else was listening, to us, while we blathered on. Our agendas are like huge bubbles of gas in our guts - they've just GOT to come out or we'll explode.
But all that farting around we do - FB'ing, TW'ing, BL'ing, TX'ing, IM'ing, etc'ing - means our megaphone is constantly on high volume. How can we possibly hear what someone else is saying if we're always talking? With all of our emotional vomiting, are we still even capable of digesting?
2. Will anyone miss what we have to say?
Like John Lennon sang, "Everybody's talkin - but no one says a word." Are we saying anything that's worth missing, if we were to take it away? Most of us are in this semi-constant state of getting whatever's inside of us, outside of us, of wanting our point of view known by as many people as will have it, or at least by one person who we hope and pray is reading us, hearing us, getting us.
If a tree doesn't fall in the woods and doesn't make a sound, will anyone miss the lack of it, in the still of the silence?
3. Is anyone else saying anything worth listening to?
The most brilliant things that others say, seem to come from a lot of famous/infamous dead people who are constantly quoted on all the social network platforms with their pithy utterances.
That's fine - it makes us feel smart and feel as if we seem smart, to use smart things that smart people have said, and "say" them ourselves.
But quoting from the pithy, ain't the same as being pithy. Within the dull roar of what's left, can any of it, touch us?
And so my dear friends, I step into the breech tomorrow, after my Saturday morning radio show is over.
I will slowly step away from the mic, click the red "off" button and, at 9:01am, begin a sojourn of listening - just listening.
I'm scared - not just for what I won't be able to say, but for what's been said all this time that I have not heard.
The enormity of what I may have been missing out there feels overwhelming as does my growing feeling of shame and guilt, for having missed so much - like I've had my eyes closed for the entire trip on a tour bus through Europe, then got a call from a friend who asks, "Was it beautiful?"
I'm so sorry - I missed it all.
But there's another bus, and another journey ahead. I'll keep my eyes open this time - and try not to miss a thing.
I'll shut up now.
Jonnie Wright is a customer service...