It’s my own fault. I didn’t learn to be careful what to wish for until too late.
I spent most of my youth pining to be deaf. I used to steal my father’s hearing aids when he was out cutting the lawn so that I could experience the feeling of the appliances in my ears. I still remember exactly how the world sounded while I listened with the aids—there was a delicate, metallic whooshing overlaying the sounds of my world: the television I could hear from the other end of the house, the lawn mower buzzing outside, the central air purring through ducts. I made my own secret hearing aid out of a non-working transistor radio for those times when my daddy’s “ears” weren’t available. I’d strap that sucker inside the front of my bra and pop in the ear phone, and voila! I was a deaf girl.
I had half a dozen deaf childhood friends—which I now find odd—and they all had the battery pack/amplifier that they wore on their chests and double wires that connected to their ear molds. I really, really didn’t like that they were special, and that I wasn’t. So. I wished. And play-acted. Until I really didn’t have to anymore. Too late to take back that shit.
I have been hearing impaired for so long that I can’t recall what it is like not to have to ask people to repeat everything, not to miss ninety-nine percent of any movie that isn’t closed-captioned, not to grin like a fucking moron most of the time because I’m pretending that I hear what’s going on around me.
My darling BFF, Lisa, posted on FB today the question, “How many times is it appropriate to say ‘what?’ before you just nod and smile because you didn’t hear or understand a word they said?” Shit. I don’t even say, “What?” most of the time anymore. I just watch people’s body language and project happy-face if a person looks like she’s telling me something exciting and positive, or shoot the old concerned-countenance if a person seems to be relating something negative. Every now and then I get it wrong. So. If I’ve rejoiced at the news of the gruesome decapitation of one of your loved-ones, I’M SORRY. It sucks, but I just didn’t hear you.