Quietness is often seen as an extension of solitude, a lack of publicly acknowledged sound and motion, a soft disposition in a rather rough eremitism (or the other way around). Clearly, we never quite know what silence says until it is made to speak by whims such as guesses and judgment — Quiet, how? Alone, when? When lonely? And shy? Serene or not? Really?
I don’t think I have ever seen any person as being exempt from existing as a lone entity. Perhaps too much people-watching and fantasizing has made me immune to the idea of trusting others to know their place in populated habitats. Surrounded, one is an extension; alone, we become the source of irrevocable completeness and individuality. Because it is then when we suddenly sprout a nose and ears, a tongue and limbs, for everyone to experience, including our own eyes.
How much consciousness there is in what one perceives, though, I can never tell.
A man is standing on a corner reading a newspaper.
A man is standing on a corner reading a newspaper. His shoes are old.
An old man is standing on a narrow corner, frowning into his reading of today’s evening paper. His shoes are old and not of his taste, for his jogging pants would much rather mingle with sneakers than bear the actual weight of his tired heels.
We always build upon solitude, alone or not. Isolation into causation, alone or not.
We give everything a story, a name.
Everyone I recall, I remember individually, in solitude, even if there are blurred shapes around. I focus on their manners and my interpretations. I try to feel what they do, which is never entirely possible for me, as I am almost certain they had no intention of grasping a rounded understanding of what they were doing at the moment. And then, context.
The outside is always solitude as long as no story comes along. The world is never quiet. Or shy. Perhaps serene at the edges, wild at the heart…
I have a list of names, of people I can remember quite well in a single, defining moment for me. Each one has a story I will not tell today, several stories, that come out when they must. And yet, every time I go back, something changes. I feel more, or less; I see more, or I see less. It’s the same person and the same action, and yet a tiny detail manages to slip from one’s own solitude into the person and what we absorb from that moment we automatically file it under ‘possible truth’, or ‘necessary truth’, and so on and so forth, until we find it a good, satisfying place to rest.
And if I were to ask you whether it would be easier to remember me from something I was to something you say I am? Would it, in fact, be easy? Would it be clear? What would that tiny detail be that is able to make you see me as someone different from how you’re seeing me at this moment?
I always want to ask those questions, but I feel they’re intrusive and break that silence and solitude contemplation needs for its own benefit. I do look around, though, a lot. Admire? Desire? That’s another ballpark, entirely.