One night last week I found myself home alone, and that doesn’t happen very often. In fact, it happens so rarely that the silence was almost deafening. The phone wasn’t ringing, the television wasn’t blaring, just the sounds of stillness. I found a book, curled up on the couch, and settled in. Next to me on the couch were three remotes, a cordless phone, and one very bored cocker spaniel. I reasoned that if things got too quiet I could turn the television on, make a phone call, or talk to the dog.
I read a few chapters before the phone began to ring. I was so into my book that I picked up one of the remotes and put it to my ear. “Hello, hello?” I said, but of course the phone kept ringing. I can remember my grandmother doing the same thing. Maybe it’s genetic.
That phone call wasn’t for me, and neither was the next one, or the next. Besides being a chauffer, cook, and nurse, I am my children’s secretary. I am expected to know exactly who called, when they called, and what they wanted. After awhile, I decided enough was enough and took the phone off the hook. I was tired of trying to read so I decided to watch the History Channel, something else I don’t get to do very often.
I looked at the remotes beside me and wondered which one worked what. When Bill or the kids are home, the television is always on. With them gone I wasn’t sure how to turn it on. A few months ago, we replaced our old television with a big- screen and I had never taken the time to learn how to operate it. After 15 minutes of punching every button on three different remotes at least twice, I gave up, convincing myself that I really didn’t want to watch it anyway.
I looked at the dog and he looked back at me, stretched, and went back to sleep. Somewhere in the distance a clock was ticking. It was so quiet I could almost hear the beating of my heart. I like silence, but too much of a good thing isn’t so good.
Next time everyone leaves, I think I’ll go with them. It really isn’t that much fun being home alone.