I hate to say it, but I’ve begun to notice that I, along with several of my friends, aren’t hearing quite as clearly as we once did. Phone calls are particularly bad, because I find myself either having to repeat things more than once or shout when I’m talking. And in return, I notice I’m saying “huh?” so often, I probably sound as if I have something stuck in my throat.
The other night, an old family friend called. The conversation went something like this:
“So, how was your week?” he asked.
“Not so good,” I said. “I turned on my central air-conditioner and nothing happened. It was completely dead. I think the mice got in there and chewed up the wires again.”
“Oh, you have central air-conditioning? That must be nice on hot days.”
“When it’s working, it’s nice. But not right now. I’m so frustrated, I’m tempted to shoot it!”
“The shoe fit? What style did you buy?”
The conversation got only worse after that.
I remember when my husband started to lose his hearing. At first, I couldn’t figure out whether he had “selective” hearing and was just ignoring me, or if he actually had a problem.
Most of the time, no matter what I said, he’d just answer, “Yeah.” He probably figured I’d be happy if he agreed with me, so “yeah” was a safe answer.
I’d say, “Do you want steak for dinner?”
“You want fries with it?”
“Or would you prefer mashed potatoes?”
“Is it OK if I run off with Ricardo, the 20-something Brazilian landscaper and part-time exotic dancer I met last week?”
But I began to suspect he really was losing his hearing when he started misinterpreting what I was saying. I remember one afternoon when I asked him if he wanted his ham sandwich on pita bread.
“Peter’s dead?” he gasped. “When? How?”
He was referring to my cousin who, I’m pleased to say, still is very much alive.
Another time, we were in the car and a song came on the radio where the singer was singing, “My eyes adored ya.”
My husband sang along with it, “My eye’s in Georgia.”
But I’m finding that as I get older, I’m beginning to have trouble, too. It was evident last week when my friend, who’s Scottish, called to chat. It was bad enough I had to strain to hear her, but her thick Scottish accent and the fact she rrrrrrr-rolls all of her rrrrrrrr’s when she speaks, made my struggle even worse.
I hate to say it, but I ended up using my husband’s “yeah” technique throughout most of the conversation. Judging from my friend’s tone of voice after some of my responses, however, I’m pretty sure I said, “yeah,” when I should have been saying, “no,” or “Oh, that’s terrible!” I also think I may unintentionally have offended her.
I mean, she either said, “I’m dieting because I have more spare tires than the Michelin Man,” or she said, “I’m so tired, I need a trip to Michigan, man!”
Either way, I answered, “Yeah!”
I have the feeling she won’t be calling me again any time soon.
# # #