During my first week of living in the Czech Republic (9 years ago), I got invited to a ball. Yeah, a ball! I still carry my ticket in my wallet because I have always felt that this ball was a defining moment in my life. I was out of my comfort zone, and attempting to communicate with people who had no way of communicating with me. I also puked something awful that night because Americans really don't know how to drink. You know you've had a full night when you puke more than you talk.
Anyway, there was a community bus that took us from the ball site back to town (weird, they actually have a mechanism in place so people don't drink and drive), and during this bus ride, there was a Czech comedian playing on the radio. It was amazing to me to be surrounded by over a hundred other people...all of us in silence...and every so often, every single person on that bus would erupt into laughter at something the Czech comedian said...while I sat there and looked out the window at all the snow that blanketed the ground. Their laughter stinging my ears.
At the dog park this morning, I got to witness a fascinating conversation between two elderly guys. I'll call them Bob and Larry for the sake of this blog...and here were some of their finer moments:
Bob: So Larry, you get everything done yesterday that you were supposed to?
Larry: What was I supposed to get done?
Bob: I don't know.
Larry: Guess I did, then.
Bob: That dog just went to the bathroom.
Bob: Sure was a good one.
Bob: You working on your crossword puzzle?
Larry: Say, Bob...you were in the Marines...what's the strap you carry over your shoulder. It starts with Band.
Larry: That doesn't seem to work.
Bob: Well, that's what the Mexicans call it.
(For the record, I think he meant Bandoleer)
Bob: Sorry about my dog growling.
Larry: No problem.
Bob: This dog is grumpier than my ex-wife.
On and on they went, and I sat there for over thirty minutes just listening to them, staring at the grass, seeing nothing but green...and just laughing internally at how ridiculous the conversations were.
On the way home, I played and replayed the conversations that Bob and Larry had in my head. The more I thought about them, the less funny they became until the moment struck me where I remembered a young kid staring out a window, feeling ostracised...seeing nothing but white.
I don't know if loneliness has a color, but I know what it sounds like. People are talking and laughing...but there is something missing in the words.