Friday, July 31, 2009

Spell it!

i say is
whistle that
sing that yell that
that out big

e.e. cummings (thanks elly)

So, life without hearing. There are so many things that I continue to be surprised by each day and many of them are simple annoyances. Like when I want to buy a cup of coffee or go to the grocery store. Or the much more advanced and risky things like restaurants and hair cuts.
What all these things have in common is, of course, they all involve a series of verbal exchanges. Most of the exchanges range from slight to meaningless but you don't want to be the one who misses the cue. "Debit or charge?", "have you been having a good day?", "what kind of dressing?" I took a bit of a verbal fall this morning. I went to Starbucks and ordered a cup of coffee. Once I ordered I knew the first question would be, "room for cream?" So as his lips moved with his silent request I confidently responded, "yes please, room for cream." His look was NOT one of confirmation but one of slight confusion. And then it dawned on me, he had asked the other Starbucks question - did I want my receipt. Oh well, it's the little things.

In these social situations I am on high alert, trying to look for body cues, read lips or see if I can't just get a bit of what's being said. I am very aware of what I should be able to do but can't. However, its when I'm just moving around, mostly outside, that I am often struck by the strangeness of it all. To see trees sway  and not be able to hear the wind. Being on a busy street and not being able to hear the crowds. Driving on the freeway and not being able to hear the traffic noise (not even being able to hear the noise of my own car.) It's a strange and sort of beautiful silence. All that action and no corresponding soundtrack. 

This morning I was in West Hollywood and I was standing on the corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente Blvd. As I stood waiting to cross I watched as four lanes of traffic filed by. When I went to take a drink of coffee my slightly open mouth created an audio cavity that caught the sound of the traffic. It was so slight but so beautiful. If I moved my tongue or slightly changed the opening of my mouth it would change the pitch of the noise. There it was, the sound of traffic singing through my skull.
Noise coming in instead of going out.

I miss hearing my granddaughter's voice. 

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