We recently had a weekend among old friends doing those wonderful things that have for a lifetime been fun for me.  There was a birthday party, which among older people are real celebrations.  There was a concert featuring Judy Collins, not everyone’s modern favorite, but she does sing real songs that actually sound like music.  There was a fireworks show on the lake. Several of my closest and oldest friends were out there in a party boat enjoying a calm night with a  waxing gibbous moon and a long pyrotechnical display.

So the scene is set for a complete and enjoyable weekend.  I hasten to say that in many ways it was just that. 

I am what is called, euphemistically, hearing impaired.  That translates into backyard lingo as: tree stump deaf.  Without my hearing aids, I wouldn’t even hear the Last Trumpet calling all us righteous souls to gather around that heavenly throne to party for bloody ever.

With these instruments I can participate in most conversations but in small groups and not with everyone talking at once.  At the party with a live combo doing credit to their talent and fifty people all talking at once, I might as well have been on a Damascus street corner trying to pick up on the local gossip.

The concert was, I am told, marvelous.  I simply could not hear the nuance of the music, or make out the words.

The boat ride was magical.  There were dozens of boats out there waiting for the show.  There was an ongoing conversation that I couldn’t quite follow.  But that wasn’t the point of the boat ride anyway.

In a one to one situation I am almost assured to understand the other person.  Such conditions simply can not be guaranteed.  

I have always maintained that if you want to communicate with someone you are responsible for that.  But, on the other hand, if every body else is getting it then it must be my problem and so it’s my job to deal with it.

Here’s how I can, and probably will handle it – (Actually, I lean heavily on these principles already)

1 – I’ll try to have the best hearing aid I can afford.
2 – I’ll use written media as much as possible. Email, blogs, chat.  Even U. S. mail.
3 – I’ll avoid, as much as is practically possible, situations where there are many people and lots of ambient noise, where it is expected that at the same time some kind of conversation will be going on.  
4 – I’ll crawl in a hole.  Ha Ha! Just kidding.  (But there are times…..)

I’m not happy about this, but there is little I can do about it.  On the other hand, I can still walk and climb and ride a bicycle and paddle my boat.  I can haul dirt and weed the garden.  I can cook and eat most anything and I still have the dubious ability to drink the finest and freshest booze.  I can be happy about these things.  I am happy about these things.

The truth is, not much will change.  I’ll keep trying to hear and understand in marginal situations.  I could hope, I suppose, for some miracle.  I wish I believed in miracles.  Hell, I am a miracle.  It’s just that I am a very old and used up miracle.  However, I remain open to the possibilities – whatever that means!  Does that count for hope?

1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth Down Gondek

    Love it Jerry. Losing your hearing is probably one of the crueler tricks of aging.

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