But as she spoke, and as she became more comfortable, rushes of communication burst forth. Understandable only by the few, she was known for starting a sentence, getting as far as a subject, and then, because she expected that the listener would naturally be able to concatenate and supply the predicate, completing the sentence, or at the very least, thinking the same thoughts, and then she would move on to another sentence consisting of a subject and perhaps a partial predicate, repeating the unique and little-appreciated style of talking that only her closest friends, the kinds who would say “It’s my turn to talk now,” or “I told you that last night but you were sleeping.” There is a kind of friend with whom a perfectly intelligent and comprehensible conversation can take place when both participants are talking at the same time, just as there are the kinds of relationships where volumes of conversation can take place without any party uttering a single word. She would privately consider this strange style a verbal macro: instead of typing in Alt-83 to spew forth a phrase, she considered it well and sufficient simply to say Subject-Predic, not realizing that others might not be using the same code. Recognizing that speech carried with it a certain inefficiency, the minds of both speaker and speakee traveling to other places during those interminable pauses between words, verbal macros took on Esperantic qualities.

And for that reason, she could communicate more effectively in print, where she could see letters form words, words form phrases, and then on to sentences, all of that appearing on a page as a diagrammed sentence.

She often contemplated a world where speech would no longer be necessary. In that world, you would simply think a thought, focus and beam it in the direction of the listener, and the listener would receive the signal, comprehend what was communicated, and respond back in like manner. Sort of like “I’ll read your mind, and you’ll read mine,” except the concept would be extended to a group of people instead of one-on-one. The limiting factor was that those enabled to communicate this way also could read the dirty, filthy, lascivious, lust-filled, deceitful and other thoughts that might best be kept to one’s self. That risk was minimal in comparison to the significant reduction in the use of vocal chords and the wear and tear of lips, tongues and teeth used in speech.

Initially, complete thoughts, sentences and entire paragraphs might be communicated, mind to mind, but after practice, all you would have to do is think A-45, and the listener would know that A-45 meant “Are we having spaghetti again tonight?” Eventually that would evolve beyond the use of alphanumerics and extend to symbols like ¥, βclip_image002, or ۩. Instead of learning how to speak “The kangaroo sits under the gum tree,” people would simply learn to think “The kangaroo sits under the gum tree,” directing the thought wave to the “listener,” who would receive and comprehend the message. With practice, entire volumes could be transmitted in less time than it would take the average thumb drive to disgorge its contents.

Imagine, for a moment, if you will, what a difference cessation of the spoken word could mean. The flat and boring noise of the spoken word could be replaced by music, the sounds of nature or internal combustion engines, or even knuckle crunching. Significant amounts of hot air would be reduced, mouth, voices and throats deployed to more useful endeavors like singing, humming, whatever it is that the people of Tuva do to keep themselves on the map when sales of postage stamps lag, yodeling, eating, drinking, tooth-tapping, and tongue curling—uses far more entertaining than garden-variety speech. Instead of having to watch some boring speech by a politician, the speaker would simply beam the message to his audience, impressing them instead, not with eloquent delivery, but with some act far more ambitious and interesting, like tap dancing or juggling.

Left sign deer next Volkswagen yellow.


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