Thursday, June 6, 2013

Say What?

You have a banana in your ear.

What did you say? I can’t hear you. I have a banana in my ear.

Decibels are dropping off as I speak and the sound is deafening. It seems like everyone I know is losing their hearing. And I’m one of them. I can hardly hear myself think.
Choosing a lunch place has become a weighty decision. We have to arrive either before or after the crowd. 11:30 assures us a booth in the corner but 2:30 guarantees a near-empty room. My favorite time is when they are changing light bulbs or mopping up with ammonia. Otherwise everything on the menu tastes like noise. Lip-reading across the table doesn’t work. I find myself laughing before the punch line or agreeing to something I just disagreed with. Soon I’ll only meet with people whose voice has the timbre of a bass baritone.

M tells how he tried many hearing-aids without success. When his friend of fifty years died he decided to ask his widow if he might try his late friend’s hearing aid. She agreed and it works like no other had in the past.  I told this story to F and he said, Let me know when M dies. 
One by one my friends are all wearing hearing-aids or should, but some of us are too vain or too cheap to lay out the $4000 to $7000. It’s a growth industry. We all have too much Stan Kenton stuck in our ears or Tijuana Brass. I should have settled for Nat Cole or, God forbid, Guy Lombardo.

I’ll have the Chef salad but hold the feta.
Did you say I should fold your letter?

No, he said he sold your sweater.

Let me have two eggs scrambled.

I didn’t know Peggy gambled.

Instead of fries, a side of slaw.

Your appetizer tastes too raw?

Restaurants are afraid of silence as if someone would think it’s a Christian Science reading Room. They want the buzz, the illusion of busy. They turn up the music, amplify the chatter, let the place rock.  Damn the acoustics. Don’t they know there are more and more of us not quite ready for assisted living? It isn’t only that high decibels agitate our innards but some of us still remember conversation. How else can we hear about each other's latest infirmity or as T put it ...quiet the din so we can hear the organ recital.







No comments:

Post a Comment