The Entire World
I want you to imagine that you are a child.
I want you to put yourself in a Time Out.
You have done nothing wrong. There is no shame or guilt.
This is a gift.
A precious and necessary pause.
For yourself and all who inhabit this life.
Five minutes of absolute, resolute, universal silence.
No cell phone.
No Internet or Google or Skype.
We could set a time a date, a moment...
Pull the plug, stand perfectly still and take a very deep breath.
I can imagine what might happen next.
I can imagine people looking all around themselves, to see if they were alone. If others had entered this folly as well. If there were any doubters or cheaters or snitches or peekers. And the inclination to be slightly embarrassed to have fallen for some trick. Some hackers hoax.
In those thirty seconds, in looking around, you were not alone.
The man in the elevator, with his hands in his pockets, standing next to you, looked over at you and smiled. Or the woman behind the desk at the DMV glanced up at you and simply folded her hands.
Or the young woman with the tattooed sleeve pulled her ear buds out, rubbed the back of her neck, and met your gaze.
Then in the next thirty seconds...
The angst of disconnect.
The what am I missing?
The, is anyone missing me?
How will I know when the five minutes are up?
What if something terrible occurs and I don't know about it?
What if something wonderful happens and I am not aware of it?
Is someone still watching?
Is anyone paying attention?
No one is moving. No one is talking. No one is making a sound.
I should take a picture of this.
This is remarkable.
This is a flash mob moment.
I need a camera.
How will I remember this if I don't photograph it and post it or film it or record it or tell someone about it, because I want it known that I was there, that I participated, that I was a part of something...
Minute Number Two...What is that sound? What do I hear?
My breath. My heart. The wind.
Minute Number Three...What do I see?
I see a blue cap on the man to my right. His neck is red from being in the sun. I wonder what he does for a living. If he has a family in my neighborhood 'cause he rides the subway with me everyday. We get off at the same stop and I never speak to him, we just nod, but he's standing there so still and I wonder if he's feeling foolish or if he's thinking the same thoughts I am.
Minute Number Four...Is it possible?
Is it possible that people in other hemispheres, different time zones, across oceans, near mountains and rivers and streams are standing perfectly still? Or because of all the time and space continuums, is this more like a gentle rolling wave of silence, a tsunami generated by the simultaneous shut down. Is it silent everywhere? Are they wondering about me, as I am wondering about them?
Is this what peace feels like?
Minute Number Five...Toe tapping, head scratching, nervous foot shifting, eye twitching claustrophobia, how many seconds are left, I am not sure I can trust this much longer, out on the edges, the users are needing a fix and watching for a sign...
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
A sigh of relief.
A sigh of regret.
But if it worked. If everyone was true in their intention.
Then for five minutes...
Some one somewhere died.
Some one somewhere gave birth.
In the space between Here and There,
And it was good.
While it lasted.
A round of applause.
For believing, just for five minutes, in the unbelievable.