This always happens when I’ve been sick.
First, there are several days when I feel truly wretched and I don’t want to move. Then follow a few weeks wherein I am functional, but grow easily tired and am plagued by annoying reminders that I am still not altogether well: hacking cough, draining sinuses, headaches…, you know the deal.
Finally, there comes the point when I finally feel healthy, but my voice simply decides to vacate the building. Any normal attempt to speak will generate something akin to a hoarse whisper. Should I attempt to raise my voice, the best I’m likely to come away with is an embarrassing squeak.
The treatment is exactly what you would expect, I’m supposed to rest my voice and drink plenty of liquids. Warm decaf tea is the best choice, but plenty of cool water is called for as well. Things to avoid: drinking alcohol, caffeine and taking anything that provides a numbing effect on the throat.
I am also advised to go without speaking for as long as possible.
No problem, except of course that my job requires that I speak to people all day, in a very noisy room.
I would consider calling out, except that they’ve been making a big noise about how much everyone has been doing that lately. “Conversations about attendance,” they say, and somewhat pointedly, “are being had.”
Well good luck having a ‘conversation’ with me about anything for the next several days!
It’s an unpleasant feeling – losing one’s voice.
We are a people that have grown very accustomed to expressing ourselves at every opportunity and through every conceivable form of media. We display our opinions on the t-shirts we wear and plastered in decal form on our car windows. We post an endless parade of links to Facebook and share our every passing thought on Twitter.
And mostly, it’s all about nothing. Some guy spends two-hundred and fifty-two words in a blog post talking about how he’s got laryngitis and we’re supposed to care?!
As a culture, we often forget that just because we can say something, it does not always follow that we should. Mostly, I think, we just like to hear the sound of our own voices.
I follow a fair number of bloggers who I think do an excellent job of discussing important subjects in an entertaining and informative way. Most weeks, I try my best to do the same thing here. We put the words out there and we hope that people read them and will be moved in one way or another. As often as not, I suspect we are mostly talking to each other.
Our circles of influence, when they exist at all, are fairly small – even in a world wide web.
And yet, once in a very great while, there is something that demands to be said despite the fact that not enough people are willing to say it out loud. It is in those moments that social media redeems itself for all the YouTube cat videos and Instagram photos of poorly photographed food.
A few weeks ago, we watched Facebook turn red as member after member changed their profile pictures to the now iconic red square with pink equal-sign. This simple and wordless display of solidarity from those who wanted to show their support for marriage equality was a surprising change from the echo-chamber of trivialities that we have become accustomed to.
While I am sure that brief display will have no influence on the High Court’s decision in the two cases they are pondering, I cannot help but wonder about everyone else on the other side of that philosophical fence. After seeing how many of their friends were willing to show support for this particular cause, how many more will be forced to rethink their positions on this issue?
Time has passed and most of the profile pics have returned to normal. We have painfully short attention spans and a refresh of our wall feeds will provide us with a host of new distractions. Maybe this topic seems dated now that a few weeks have passed.
There is an equalizing force implicit in social media, allowing once silent minority voices to be heard above the everyday clatter of the waning majority. These conversations must continue, even when our voices fail us.