You read a book by the pool. The sun shining, birds singing; everything perfect in your little comfortable nook of the world – laying, thinking, consuming. The story is starting to move towards the final act where all the various threads will come together into a thematic whole. You slow your pace, savoring the thought of the finale in your mind’s eye, bracing yourself for something unexpected and guessing the outcome at the same time. You lower the book and steal a glance when a youngish couple passes. You study them as they survey the landscape, figuring out the trajectory of the sun and the best possible chairs to use. It quickly becomes clear that they’ve settled on two next to your own. You shrink in horror, anticipating their intrusion into the little cocoon you’ve constructed for yourself. You think about it a second longer, then let it go. Maybe it won’t be that bad. As you start to read again they start talking loudly about, well, nothing at all really. Nothing that can’t wait. Nothing that isn’t passing the time, disrupting that awkward feeling imbued by silence. Words that negate the need to think. You try reading a sentence, then a paragraph, but it’s no use. You can’t tune out their voices. The opportunity is lost. A fleeting moment of joy ebbs away into the cacophony of sounds we call communicating.