A vow of silence

22 July 2011 08:30

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be unable to speak? There are many religions where vows of silence are part of a certain regimen, mostly in monasteries and such. But this is mostly an effort of will, a test of faith. What happens when you want to speak, but are unable to?


I experienced a similar situation first hand. No, the Matrix doesn’t have me (or at the very least I haven’t seen glitching cats), but I had a rather annoying affliction called an Aphthous Ulcer. These nasty little buggers pop up a few times every year, but they’re usually restricted to my gums. All they do is make eating slightly less comfortable. This time however, the ulcer was at the side of my tongue, making any movement my tongue makes (talking, eating) extremely painful. The result: I’ve been mostly unable to speak for the past few days.

As with many things, it’s not until you’re forced to do without that you realize how much you use them. Being unable to speak has both advantages and disadvantages. People stop asking difficult questions, but limit their conversation to things that can be answered with Yes or No (I could still make affirmative and negative noises). Another advantage is that having difficulty eating is doing wonders for losing weight. But of course, the disadvantages are far worse than anything gained. Being almost unable to eat while hungry is a really nasty experience, and having to endure a jolt of pain with every bite is not my idea of fun. But the worst I found was wanting to simply tell my significant other how my day was, but being unable to.

In short, this was quite a humbling experience, but not one I’d like to repeat. It does give one a lot of story ideas though.