The other day I nearly got run over by one of those electric scooters which seem to be everywhere these days.  Well, maybe not run over, but it kind of snuck up on me in that quiet way that they do.
    “It should have tooted at me or rung a bell to let me know it was there,” I muttered to myself, though I was more startled than angry.
    And then my brain, without telling me it was going to, sped off in another, wonderful direction.
    It envisioned for me, with no effort on my part, an entire city – a country, a world of cities! – filled with near-silently running electric vehicles.  What a sight it was!  What an aural delight!  No combustion engines roaring, chugging, blaring, stinking along.  Just the soft hiss of tires on asphalt as vehicles rolled peacefully along.  Oh, what a glorious scene my brain showed me!
    I should have stopped it right there.  Or tried to, at least.  But no, I let my brain go on.
    And the next thing I knew the gloriously silent scene was shattered by shards of racket flying everywhere.  A car drove past, windows open, and I heard every acrimonious word of an argument taking place inside it.  Car radios, always a bother to me when they’re turned up too loud, were all too loud now; music of all kinds jangled and boomed through the air.  Conversations people were having at the end of the block, or across the street, rose and fell and rose again.  Laughter ricocheted between buildings.  Then there were the distant jack hammers, sirens, car horns; their racket jabbed and cut through the air like never before.   Every single sound was louder, sharper, more distinct, more ear-splitting than it had ever been in the days before the internal combustion engine had been silenced.
    Silenced.  Silenced.
    The cars, trucks, and busses had been silenced.   But we hadn’t, my brain said to me.  We humans and our human activities.  We continued on in habits formed during decades of having to make ourselves heard over our motors.  We had quieted our vehicles, but not ourselves.
    And that was where my brain stopped.  The scene it had shown me floated away like mist in a breeze.  The whole thing had lasted only a few seconds, I suppose, but I was left wondering if we’ll be ready for a quieter world, should one ever come to pass.