Why Are You So Quiet?

“Why are you so quiet?”
A coworker asked the other day.
“Talking is easy, just try it!
Do you really have nothing to say?”

“I’m sorry my silence offends you,”
I carefully replied,
“But you see, I’ve work to do,
And my mind is occupied.”

“Here, here,” my nemesis cried,
“That’s no reason for restraint.
Look at Betsy, Susan, Clyde,
They greet me without complaint.”

“Is this only a matter of greeting?
Why, I said hello just last week.”
(Sadly, for some it bears repeating.
I forget this, hence her critique.)

She continued our conversation,
Claimed it the most we talked since we met.
“It’s liable to cause a sensation,”
She said, “I’ll surely win the office bet.”

I did not like the sound of that,
Though I knew it was just a tease.
I tried again: “No time to chat,
I’ll return to my desk, if you please.”

Did she listen? Of course not, they never do,
These garrulous acquaintances we soon regret.
She spoke of shopping, shoes, the weather,
Or maybe it was her health, I forget.

The fact is, I’m with her still,
If it weren’t so tragic, I might laugh.
But as I’ll die here, I’ll write my will,
At last, it’s quiet, my epitaph.

23 thoughts on “Why Are You So Quiet?

  1. I have a few of those in the office. Sometimes I try the insanity plea: “Why are you so quiet?”
    “Um, my lawyer said I shouldn’t say and thing without him being in the room.”
    “Sorry, Bugs Bunny and I where just chatting about the Roadrunner. Don’t you think Elmer should be arrested for always shooting at Bugs?”
    “Sorry, the doctor said I shouldn’t talk for an hour after I took my meds.”
    “Yes, I am picking up a chainsaw on the way home. What? you were saying?
    You’ll be back at your desk in no time.

    1. What gets me is that people will say I’m quiet even when I think I’m being quite talkative.
      And also, what’s so wrong with being quiet?! The world needs more silence, don’t you think?
      (I need to remember the meds line. That’s golden. 😉)

  2. Who on earth would ask you those questions? Hmmm …. I might be able to start a list. As Hamlet would say, “The rest is silence.” #weintrovertsneedtosticktogether

    1. Well, that question has plagued me my whole life, but in this context, it was one of the therapists who travel from school to school. She’s commented on my quiet nature several times, and for some reason this time I responded with, “sorry, do quiet people bother you?” Which I thought was terribly witty, but in the end it wasn’t worth it because it got her talking to me and now I fear she thinks we bonded and she’ll talk to me every time she’s on campus.

  3. Oh how you speak my heart. Being a little reclusive in nature is terribly hard (I exacerbate it by seeming to be extravert which erks me more than others) … I am grateful that I no longer have to share offices. Really and truly and humbly grateful. I loved this, if you didn’t realise what the ramble meant 😉

    1. I wonder how many people there are like you, ones who prefer it quiet, but have learned to fake it? Might be surprising.
      With me there was no argument which I was, EVER. First time I took one of those lengthy personality tests, a real one with a counselor who interpreted the results, they told me I didn’t answer a single question in an extraverted manner. 🙄

      1. I’m certain there are many. I know why in my case. Upbringing. Expectation. Those things. My husband calls it my albatross as he sees me dutifully chatting when he knows I’d rather be left alone. He’s an introvert. By the way, we learn by listening, not talking – it amazes me how few people get that simple and rather obvious fact!

        1. Fortunately for me, there was no pressure from my parents to be outgoing – I think they were both introverts. But elsewhere, definitely.
          Speaking of learning, I was always a good student, but group projects were the worst! Or sometimes I’d get a teacher determined to have me participating more. Once I dropped a college class because I couldn’t take being called on all the time. (Lord, now that I write that, sounds like I need a therapist! 😳)

          1. You do NOT need a therapist. YOu are entirely normal and I salute your parents for allowing that. My parents were not particularly extrovert but my mother was the product of a societal upbringing that suggests girls should be hostesses to their husbands’ career. That was it, really. I learned to be something that naturally I am not. In some ways it has served me well in others not so much but I am who I am.

  4. The ending of your poem reminded me of “Porphyria’s Lover,” by Robert Browning. Do you know it?

    Another recommendation: “Quiet,” by Susan Cain: a prose celebration of introversion.

    1. You’re kidding! Oh man, I really wish I could say I did it as a homage, but sadly I’ve read very little of Browning. I’ll look it up; thanks for the tip!

      Yes, I’ve read the book, saw her TED talk and follow the site, Introvert, Dear. It’s so great to read something and think, YES! This right here, it’s ME!

  5. One of the best things a writer can do is to hold a mirror up to the reader, and you have done so with eerie precision in my case. And it has a good beat, and you can dance to it. (Fair disclosure: I tried, off and on, for over two hours to come up with a comment that cleverly rhymed, but I just couldn’t find the fight whimsy. Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day, although it might be another stray…

    1. Do you now how many times I paced the living room reading this out loud, over and over, trying to get the rhythm right? Never considered dancing to it. (Truthfully, there are a couple lines I’m not entirely satisfied with, so I may do a bit more tweaking.)
      Tip: check out the site Rhyme Zone. Most helpful!

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