I had a tradition in High School. On the final day of exam every year, after the last nubbin of a No. 2 pencil had been laid down and the final bluebook passed in, one of my best friends and I would meet up at the edge of the football field and solemnly march to the center of the fifty-yard line. We would look up to the skies and in the loudest voices we could muster we would shout, “We’re done!”
It is the forty-fourth day on this island, and I want to be Clamorous.
A lot of people comment on the peace and quiet that we have experienced over the last several weeks. It was restful and novel in the early stages. But I am at heart a city person. Quiet is suspicious to me. I require some hustle and bustle around me to concentrate. I used to avoid studying in libraries because I hated to hear myself think.
Humans are not by nature silent creatures. Fictitious images of the strong, silent type notwithstanding, humans are chatty, boisterous, sociable and gossipy. I think it was Douglas Adams who said that humans must constantly talk to keep their tongues from growing too long and suffocating them.
Some of the bustle has returned. Traffic is slowly ramping up, although even with the easing of the shelter-in-place orders I’m not sure where people are hustling to. It is conceivable that folks are just creating traffic because traffic is what they know. Like a cup of coffee, some people need the anger of a drive-time traffic jam to get their blood pumping in the morning.
Some have taken things too far. In Dallas, on the eve of the shelter relaxation, a large group of imbeciles decided that it might be their last chance to reenact Fast and Furious. Twelve arrests and one death later, they had made their noise. Now they can deal with an extended time of actual lockdown.
We don’t need to reach extremes of dangerous activity to satisfy our need for noise. There are positive ways to do it. Sing a song, for instance. Come on, just do it. There’s no one else around to hear. Recite some poetry. Reach back into your nursery school days and find your favorite nonsense syllable (“Lar lar lar” is a good one). Anything that with shatter the unnatural calm.
Stay in good voice. It won’t be that much longer until we can all meet at midfield for a prolonged and well-deserved primal scream and we’ll need all the power and the clamor we can get.