At the annual Montlake Elementary Carnival about two blocks from my house, I spotted one of the regular performers. He does a bit of clowning and a lot of balloon animal making. Very expressive face. Reminds me of European clowns more than American in his style; more mime than Ringling Brothers. I went over to him when I spotted him at work. He was chattering away to people.
I goggled. He looked at me, possibly recognized me from previous years, and gave me a hearty handshake.
Me: "You're talking!"
Him: "Yes. I'm talking."
Me: "You've never talked before!"
He looks surprised. "Oh! I never talked here before! I'd forgotten! I'll stop."
Me: "No, no, I was just surprised!" We both laugh.
I didn't see him talk the rest of the evening.
There's something about a silent clown that makes you fill in so much detail. A telling pause. A waggle of the eyebrows. A look — just a look! He was certainly great even with a voice, but I had forgotten how much he'd conditioned me to think of him as mute while he worked.