I’m not sure exactly what I was doing at 1.59pm on Sunday, but I do know that I was sitting in a cinema in Village Queen Street, watching “Kinsey”. It’s quite a good film, but that’s not the point. The point is that I was not actively partaking in the minute of silence.
After the movie I went for a walk down to the waterfront. I saw a cafe with this written on its blackboard sign outside:
Please join us as we participate in a 1 minute silence at 1.59 in memory of the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami. Thanxs.
What would that have been like? Maybe you’d be sitting there with your cappuccino and eggs Benedict when the head barista would solemnly announce, “We are now going to have a one-minute silence in memory of the Boxing Day tsunami victims. Thanxs.”
Then everything would go quiet, except there’d be kitchen noises because table three ordered pancakes and they’re still cooking. You’d sit at your table looking at your coffee, wondering if drinking it would still be considered silence, or if it would be ok to take a sip.
Some 12 year-old punkarses would walk past trying to sound like adult black American gangstas, which would make at least one person start to giggle.
Then someone would walk in, unaware that the minute of silence was being observed, and would be trying to order an espresso and wondering why everyone was really really quiet.
And finally the minute, which by now would feel like five minutes, would be up and the clicking, grinding and sucking noises of the old espresso machine would again fill the air.
Everyone would breathe one of those collective sighs of relief and be glad that the gruelling minute was up, and would forget about the tsunami again.