Thursday, September 28, 2006

What was that?

Back when I was an innocent youth, I worked with a guy who was hard of hearing. If you asked him a question, he'd often respond with a harsh "Huh?" and an angry look that had you quickly retreating. I couldn't understand why he was mad at me for asking a question.

Life has a way of coming back to bite us in the proverbial butt. As I reach my 40s, I discover that I'm not hearing things like I used to. I had my hearing tested and discovered that I'm still at the low end of normal, and I tend to hear lower sounds better than higher. As the mother of two elementary school daughters, this can be a blessing or a curse.

"Mom, xlkejflk jflkwej lkejsl!" This comes from another room while the speaker's head and voice are directed to the TV set.

"What was that?"

"Wlkjrlk klsjdflk werk!"

"Come over here and talk to me. Oh, and while you're here, empty the dishwasher."

Too bad it didn't start when the kids were babies. I could have had an excuse for missing those middle-of-the-night cries.

Anyhow, I've tried to be accommodating. TV is the worst. Why is it that dramas like to insert so much background music? I watch "House" with one hand cupped around my ear, like a little old lady. It drives my husband nuts. See, I told you it's a blessing and a curse.

I blame my car radio. All those times I cranked Aerosmith's "Tell Me What it Takes to Let You Go" have slowly killed off all those little hairs in my ear that are so conducive to moving sound to my brain. I also blame my genes. Dinner at my parents' house is a lot of fun, as we all punctuate our sentences with, "Huh?" "What'd you say?" "Say it again."

On a serious note, I hope I never lose the ability to hear my kids play the piano or tell their latest story. But at least I'm able to filter out some of the whines and demands that come from the other end of the house. Maybe it's a byproduct of motherhood.


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