I Can’t Heeeearrrrr You, Part 2. Otherwise Known As “Speak the Fuck Up”

When I started college, I realized that I couldn’t always understand conversations or what folks said to me in public. And then the first week of freshman year, this dummmmmmmmbassssss threw a couple of lit firecrackers over the transom into my dorm room, and they landed on my bed where I was reading. Right next to my left ear. Oh, yeah! HiLARious! What a totally FUNNY prank, you nutless wonder! (I know your name, too, anal plug.)

Wooo. I’m still laughing.

My ear did nothing but ring for days, so I had a hearing test. The really funny part of that story is that the How-in-the-World-Have-you-Gone-This-Long-Without-Hearing-Aids?!-verdict surprised me. I didn’t see it coming.

Too-bad, so-sad that since sixth grade I’d been a vocalist. Ran in the family. But so did progressive nerve-loss hearing impairment. Better think of a new career, I thought. It truly sucked big, nasty, geriatric balls that I had to stop performing. At my ten-year high school reunion, Lisa Jones, whom I’d known casually when we’d sung (See, J-Lo? You use “sung” when there’s a helping verb, dammit!) in shows together, asked me, with genuine excitement, if I planned to join the 80’s cover band on stage.

Sheeeeeeee-it, no. I’d have sooner stripped naked and turned clumsy cartwheels while peeing in front of everybody and God. No-ho-ho-ho. I’d given up the tangerine dreams of a permanent spotlight after embarrassing myself on a handful of occasions. It seems in my case, a career in music involves hearing oneself, Beethoven be damned. So I chose teaching. Those are close, aren’t they?

Fast-forward twenty vicious years, and spiteful reality has sucker-punched my ass, snatched out fistfuls of my thinning hair, deviated my septum, and left me unconscious on the hot sidewalk. There is almost NO career for an INTELLIGENT deaf girl. In fact, no activity that requires human interaction was designed for us posts.

Teaching is torment. Shopping is agony. Dinner at a restaurant is torture. And although my hearing loss is responsible for most of the distress, a large portion of the blame falls on the devolving diction of most people I encounter. Many store clerks, students, waiters, co-workers, and all of my daughter’s myriad doctors sound like they’re fighting to form words around a giant old chaw of fresh cow shit in their mouths. I can ask folks to repeat what they say a hundred-thousand-billion times, and it won’t make a bit of difference. Just fucking text me. Jesus. I know most of these folks can’t spell either, but damn. Let’s at least level the playing field!  And, honestly, if what you have to say isn’t important enough for you to speak the fuck up and enunciate, then just keep it to yourself.

I Can’t Heeeearrrrr You, Part 1

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.

F***ing, C***sucking Cockroaches

The number one thing in the world I hate, despise, and abhor more than poverty, illiteracy, prejudice, torture and unwanted facial hair COMBINED: sonofabitching, buttfucking, asslicking cockroaches. How DARE there be a cutesy cartoon version in Wall-E!? I officially detest Pixar’s art department for implying that those godforsaken cretins could have any redeeming qualities.

It’s painful even to write about the motherfuckers. But! I was just fishing for topics, and the universe—bitch that she sometimes is—threw one my way. Literally. I went to my closet to find a cord for a hearing aid device, and I pulled down a box from the top shelf. I haven’t visited that box since we moved it here from Cucaracha Villa, the rental house we shared with four million roach bastards last year. When I retrieved the box, I knocked down an old make-up container, which had a partially opened zipper.

A millisecond later, I spied out of my eye corner a ginormous, black behemoth scurrying across the closet carpet. My usual spastic fit ensued, which my husband and daughter noted with the blithe expressions of flush septuagenarians nursing juleps on the fucking veranda. You know, they could have moved their asses because that cocksucker isn’t going to kill itself.