Silent crowd

Last year I looked wistfully at pictures of Tessa’s birthday beach party, an annual event, on facebook, while sitting at my little China-made desk in my bedroom of house 33 in Karte seh in Kabul, Afghanistan.

I saw pictures that needed an explanation: people in weird poses on our kitchen floor, everyone with a headset on. Axel explained: this was silent disco; they were dancing to wicked good music. A friend of Tessa and Steve is a sought-after disc jockey on the Boston club scene. He graciously offered to come and DJ at her party last year, bringing lots of headsets so the neighborhood wouldn’t know that a disco party was going on. He did so again this year and I got to be in it rather than looking in from the outside.

Whoever came up with the silent disco idea is a genius. If you take your headset off there is no music. And so you can dance on loud music if you want, alone or with others, and if you want to have a conversation you simply take the headset off. I thought of our conversations yesterday about insights and innovation: someone made an “either/or” into an “and/and.” You can have your cake (loud music) and eat it too (have a conversation), AND all this without pissing off the neighbors.

Axel had been dreading the party a bit – in litigious America having 30 to 40 young people on your property, mix in much beer and stronger stuff that slips in unnoticed, along with random people you don’t know is a risky thing. Besides, his recliner is in the living room. Tessa responded very wisely to these concerns by telling her friends to bring a tent or sleeping bag and stay the night and not allowing strangers to tag along with friends, unless explicit permission was provided by her (in case of new partners).

By looking out of the window I can see, judging from the number of cars still on our property, that many heeded the suggestion of staying for the night. Those who left will miss out on one of the best experiences Lobster Cove can offer: waking up on a sunny Sunday morning and then have Tessa and Steve cook a hearty breakfast and eat it on the beach.

Tessa also had some strong young men take the recliner up to our bedroom. And so we are for the first time in nearly a month sleeping in the same room again. This vacated the living room and made it, with all the other rooms downstairs available for overnighters without a tent: there are couches and Afghan carpets, and, after a brief inspection this morning, there are people using them.

We did not last very long into the night – we are after all more than double the age of most – but we had a great time hanging out around the fire and then dancing with our head phones on. Our daughters have wonderful friends. They are in a stage of life where engagements, weddings and jobs are the subject of most conversations. There were serious talks about getting, having and leaving jobs, or mates for that matter; and wistful conversations about travelling (they had done, or wished they had done).

But they also wanted to know about us, with lots of questions about Axel’s arm in the sling, why the rotator cuff operation, why Afghanistan, the plane crash. Some were actually following my blog and knew a lot about our lives. At times Axel started to talk about something we did, and was greeted with the words, “oh, we know all about that already!” But some things don’t go in the blog and so there remains much to talk about.

It is Sunday morning now and, after a brief inspection of the after-party debris, I went back upstairs to reminisce about my 27th summer which took place in Beirut, 33 years ago. I realized that some things don’t change. I too was in the middle of a transition then, of both jobs and mates and about to start on the trip of a life time, with Axel, to Afghanistan.

1 Response to “Silent crowd”


  1. 1 Carol Sawyer July 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Sylvia, it is such a joy to read this blog and have news of your family and life. Bellagio in September!!! How wonderful. Like Andre’ and Mili, I find that the most perfect place to visit. Wonderful for Sita and Baby Faro to have you along.
    Next week I will be in San Francisco for B-K Publishing’s special celebration. Take a look online at the details for July 20th; this is just the kind of event you would love so much, and to which you would contribute so much. You are much admired! Hugs to Axel and all your family. Carol Sawyer


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