Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I guess I have gotten to the age
where my ears are getting old.

I have started asking people to speak up,
I constantly raise the volume on the TV-
and mumbling in my presence
will get you nowhere.

My kids get a good laugh about it sometimes.
I actually think they try to twist the words a little
to make it difficult for me to understand.
Then they just laugh and laugh.
And laugh.

Hearing loss can be serious business.
It can effect your every day life.
at least I don't have a case of S.A.D.
This stands for Selective Audio Damage.
My husband has been afflicted with this
for quite awhile now.

He can be out in the garage running
the chain saw or leaf blower
and ask who was on the phone at 6:15.
Or he can be sitting in front of the surround sound
with seven Dolby speakers
blaring out some action video-
only to suddenly push STOP and say,
"Did you hear a car door?"

He can hear a deer step on a shaft of wheat,
a neighbors dog pee in the garden,
and his oatmeal boiling over at breakfast.
He can tell the make of a car by it's sound,
the sex of a bird by its song,
and the depth of a well by its echo.

(here's where the Selective part comes in)-
I can pull into the driveway after an afternoon shopping-
my arms heavy with bags-
my legs bending from the weight-
my teeth the only thing I have free to open the latch-
and do you think he can hear me kicking the door
with my good foot?
Absolutely not!

Do you think he can hear me
as I cry out in pain because the cat trips me
and I fall backward off the step
and into the garden tools-
dropping two sacks
and sending a 12-pack of soda
rolling across the garage floor?
Do you think he can hear as I open
every cabinet, drawer, crisper,
and freezer door-
as I unpack ten noisy plastic bags
of groceries
and lug in two cases of beer,
twenty pounds of potatoes,
and a watermelon the size of a collie?
No. No. No.

After all that, I stand before him-
exhausted and sweaty,
leaf-rake marks on my forehead,
raw chicken juice on my jacket,
two broken finger nails
and a slight concussion.

"Oh, Honey, are you home? he asks, smiling warmly,
momentarily glancing away from a TV western.

Selective Audio Damage.
(A very severe case indeed).

The only thing that could have made
more noise than I did
was an atomic bomb exploding
in the driveway!

"Do you need some help? he says, faking
the flip of his Lazy Boy.

"Oh, don't get up, Darling." I say dryly,
limping for the sofa.
"I got it all."

"Why didn't you honk or something? he asks.
"I would have come out and helped you."

I truly believe this man.
Again, you must realize he is a victim of S.A.D.
Yet, it just makes you want to cry
to see a grown man
oblivious to his problem...

So, I go start a load of laundry,
run the noisy dishwasher,
flip on the radio,
sizzle some fried chicken in the skillet,
and sing out loud.

"What's that?" my husband says,
suddenly appearing in the doorway-
shushing me to be quiet.
He cups his hands to his ear and says,
"I think the outside faucet is leaking."

For crying out loud!
Where were his Super Man ears fifteen minutes ago?
Where was his enhanced audio receiver when I was
stubbing my toe and breaking my back?

"I can't take it anymore..." I mumble into my hands.

"What?" my husband asks.

"I got steak at the store", I say with a forced smile,
tossing a dozen broken eggs into the trash.