Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Isolation is the dark angel of hearing loss. Yet there are times when I welcome her as the lesser of two evils. Silence versus noise. Pease versus the struggle for understanding. But it goes deeper than that. I've only been treating my hearing loss since 1997. I have, for as long as I can remember, always felt on the fringes of group conversations. There is, of course, no way to check this out but I might have always had a hearing disconnect of some kind. And this could have been more behavioral or developmental than organic. The part that I remember is the feeling that I was being "talked over" as though I were between two people who knew what the subject was and I didn't. My contributions often seemed to be irrelevant or at best, slightly off point. It may not mean a thing but my favorite place as a child was in the crown of an oak tree or in my secret loft. Liking to be alone may be the innocent truth of it, but there it is for consideration. Perhaps I am looking for things that are not there.

When real time profound deafness was added to this history there were the makings of some serious, perhaps unconscious ground-in expectations when experiencing group discussions. I have found that confirming a statement is often the solution as in - "Are you saying the price was wrong or the purchase itself?". What I heard was not definitive, but asking such a question could get to the point easily. It can make conversation kind of clunky but it also can clear up a lot of misunderstanding and keep one in the center of things. It's more to the point that just asking, "What?".

I often wonder what it was like when I could hear it all. I think I remember when I could understand conversations in the "other" room or across the room. I think I can remember the sweet passages of Beethoven's sixth. But can I be sure? It's been so long. Those are childhood memories. Memories of other times.

The thing is, hearing loss is a constant struggle. It's a major feature of one's life and there is something to learn from it every day and it's not often about the past, but about now.

Saturday, April 6, 2019


There's a huge effort going on at our house lately; the effort to get rid of the trash and treasures of decades of collecting.  This is all in preparation for the big migration south - eventually.

I have been delaying dealing with my bookshelves so I decided to tackle them, one section at a time.  Let me say here at the outset, I could empty this room of all the books, magazines and notebooks in twenty minutes with one of those trash chutes hooked to a window and a dumpster at the end.  That being said, the truth is that regardless of my good intentions, I seem to be possessed by some magnetic force that compels me to open every one of those dusty old books to see if perhaps an errant $100 bill was stuck in there to mark a significant passage.  I mean, I haven't touched that section in over fifteen years.  Dust?  You don't know dust.  I know dust.  AaaaaaChooo!

After all the books were in a pile I noticed in the dark far corner of the lowest shelf, mostly hidden by my treadmill (that's another whole discussion) was the corner of a box of some sort.  With some tugging I managed to free it and drag it out.  Old negatives and photographs.  Apparently hundreds of them.  Fifty years worth, if my memory serves me well.  Actually the long term stuff is usually spot on.  It's the short term, "Where did I put that coffee cup?" stuff that's a problem.

I couldn't help myself.  That magnet thing I mentioned kicked in with a nuclear force and the next two hours were spent moaning, "Oh my god" over and over, which, if you listen carefully seems to rhyme with Armageddon.  So the original (and most important) task was sidetracked while I wallowed in the muck and mire of terminal nostalgia.

Meanwhile CA, my partner in life, walked in and I said, "Come here and sit down and look at this!"  Bless her heart, she did just that.  We laughed and, yes, shed a tear as we looked in wonderment at those beautiful young people.  What she should have done was to dump a bucket of ice water on my head to shock me back into the present tense.  By the time this project is over, that will be likely to have happened several times.

So, the first slug of books are all bagged and will be on their way the library, Goodwill or to you, if your resistance is lower than usual.  Just give me a call.  However, I can't promise a dust free transaction.