It was hardly subtle. Nope, it wasn’t subtle at all.
Farmer just came right out with it at supper.
“Yeah? You couldn’t go 15 minutes without talking,” he claimed.
So I promised him 48 hours.
After that, he tried hard to make me talk.
Other than answering the phone, which he’s made sure I did, and reading Princess a bed-time story in her room with the door closed, I kept quiet.
Not that it was easy. Farmer came by about every five minutes to provoke me, poke me with his index finger and remark:
“Ok, you’ve gone your 15 minutes. Now, that’s a lot longer than I thought you’d last...”
But I didn't cave.
Words are too easy, it seems. And when someone doesn’t get action on an unfinished after supper chore, one can always raise her voice and the help eventually moves. One night I had to write a note. Then throw a few things in the kitchen.
Even as I wrote this, Farmer was bothering me, opening the study door and demanding:
“What are you doing? I can’t read that. What are you doing? Are you vegetating?”
He could damn well see I’m writing a column.
Some people take vows of silence for their spiritual development.
Farmer used his cell phone to call our land line so that I’d have to answer the phone again. I saw his number on the mistro, picked up the phone and threw it at him.
The silence was clearly killing him. And yet, I’m not giving him the “silent treatment” either. This was just his dare and he knows it.
I keep a black and white picture of my paternal grandmother in her bathing suit (a lovely two piece) standing out in a snow drift sometime around 1940. She’s beautiful, holding up her end of a dare.
Could I go 48 hours without talking? Could I get the children up, fed and hurry them along so the bus leaves on time. Could I do this without words, without raising my voice, without reminding them of their responsibilities?
Perhaps I do talk too much. It might be good for all to experience the natural consequences of forgetting something or being late because they weren’t being responsible for their own lives. Time will tell. I’m in.