“…you know what I mean?” Tina laughed and shook her head in feigned disbelief. Tina couldn’t believe how good it felt to just carry on a conversation with somone. Man, she had missed this. It had been almost six years since her self-imposed ‘vow of silence’, something her 18-year-old self felt was a necessary tactic in her ongoing protest against animal cruelty. At the time she believed her silence would instigate a ‘revolution’ amongst her peers, that they too would take up her cause and take the ‘vow’ as well. She was immediately osterchized instead, dismissed as the ‘weird hippy chick’. Tina’s last words rang in her head for months after that,
“Join me in silence! Join me in denying yourself free speech until that day that even the most helpless among us, our animal brethren, are given a voice and are truly spoken for!”
Despite her tormentors and naysayers, and there were plenty, Tina kept her vow and refused to utter a single syllable until that day came when she felt her animal friends were also given a voice. Leaving home after graduation, Tina travelled the country, taking odd jobs, mostly washing dishes or handing out flyers, until she joined up with a grassroots group, named PETA. Tina was instantly hired, ironically, as a communications coordinator for special events. After four years of working with the organization and a particularly successful demonstration involving lettuce leaves fastened in strategic places on a few of their lady activists, Tina realized that PETA had become a force for the rights of the animals- they finally had their ‘voice’.
Tina broke her vow the next day, without any pomp or announcement. She had simply woken up, dressed and went down to her neighborhood café for a large coffee with soy- her usual order. After her order was placed and received, Tina engaged the barista in her first try at small talk for more than half a decade. If she said so herself, she thought it had been going quite well.
Taking advantage of the natural lull in the conversation, Tina brought her coffee mug to her lips and took a large sip. “OH!!! Why this coffee has gone cold!” She screeched almost spitting the chilled beverage all over the barista. “Glenda! How on earth did you not notice the coffee you served me was colder than a witch’s teat?” Tina said, looking up at Glenda, the barista, in confusion.
Glenda, a middle-aged woman with an open face and auburn hair pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration. “Well it was piping hot when I served it to you, miss,” Glenda replied as coolly as Tina’s coffee, “but you’ve been yacking away at me for about an hour now”.
Tina pushed her sleeve up and looked at her watch; sure enough it was about an hour and a half later than it had been when she entered the café. She had talked and talked and talked without even realizing it. Blushing with embarrassment, Tina replied, “I am so sorry, Glenda. I haven’t spoken to anyone for over six years, guess I just got excited. I’ll get out of your hair now and let you get back to work. I hope you won’t hold this against me”.
Feeling a little guilty for her harsh words, Glenda waved it off and told Tina not to worry about it. Relieved, Tina gathered her belongings and said, “Thanks for listening, anyway, I really appreciate it,” before heading towards the exit. “Oh and one more thing,” Tina said turning from the doorway, “Could I get another coffee?”
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Ever go a span of a few days where you encounter very little to no human interaction? I know you extroverts probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but for an introvert like yours truly, going for a day or even two without talking to another person is not that rare. While there was an occasional conversation with Andy in between his demanding job on the movie set and completing school work, I didn’t speak with another person in person all weekend. So inevitably today, after this conversation hiatus, I found myself jibber jabbing away at any provocation with just about anyone who was unlucky enough to cross my path. An advising session that usually would have taken about a half hour, ended up lasting almost two. The token, “did you have a nice weekend?” asked by a faculty member was met with a detailed oration on my two days off. I just kept talking and talking and talking, meanwhile, my inner dialog was praying for someone, anyone to just shut me up- I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I honestly have no idea what I went on about; it was like I just needed to get it all out of my system so I could be a functioning member of society again. I’m officially a mess.
TWO: Apparently, a few themes from the book I’m currently reading, Wicked by Gregory McGuire, worked their way in. First- Glenda is the name of one of the main characters. Second, one of the running themes in the story is the fair treatment of animals and Animals, hence the PETA reference. Oh, and there was that whole, “colder than a witch’s teat” remark…
Love & Squirrels.