It's amazing how you can do something every day and not realize how much you do it, until you try to stop completely, even for eight hours. They say you never miss your water until your well runs dry, but in the case of a hundreds of students around the U.S., you never miss talking until you try to stop talking. For the entire school day.
At first it was easy. A lot of people put tape over their mouths, not trusting their own self-restraint. People who were not participating looked on interestedly, almost jealously, some of them. As the day wore on, however, people started to make blunders. There was the occasional person who would crack and just give up in the middle of a class, or the automatic response made in reply to a passing friend's polite greeting. Many people noticed for the first time how instinctual talking is. That's why it is so impressive that so many people took part in the Day of Silence.
I'm sitting here typing this in my school's library during sixth period. To my credit, I have only made four blunders this whole day: once I said "Sorry" when I bumped into someone in the hallway, I slipped up in homeroom for a second while demonstrating the ASL alphabet to someone, and automatically responded to my friend's "Hey Gina!" with a "Hey!" of my own. I had no control over the situation in fifth period- I had to talk during the group math quiz or risk alienating the rest of my group.
On the whole, this experience has made me wonder how many of the things I do everyday are done out of habit or routine. Even if you are not a person who keeps to a very tight schedule, there are things you do around the same time every day, certain things you automatically respond to. Now I am glad that my bad habits are harmless, or I might not be able to change them.