Losing hearing is an odd development. Sometimes it’s the consonants (“Did you say wine or lime”) sometimes whole syllables go missing. Often I nod and pretend to understand, hoping context will buck up the levies holding back floods of gibberish. What’s odd is that the noise level doesn’t decrease but turns into an aural porridge. Sirens are just as loud, just as deafening. Whatever I hear or don’t hear as I walk up Mission Street, it is far more than the army with cords hanging from their ears do. I wonder, but not much, what the payoff of that is. Perhaps it’s a prophylaxis against thinking. Who doesn’t get tired of hearing their own thoughts? Perhaps it’s a prophylaxis against feeling, you know, existential angst.
Precisely what I intend not feeling when it gets even worse, and I will postpone, as long as possible, the advent of the era when I, like my father has, lose a hearing aid in the box of popcorn. So what if I miss what the laughter is about in yoga class. I hear the laughter. I’ve heard a lot of jokes in my life and forgotten them every one except the one I heard (beginning to end) at the lunch after Marylee’s funeral. Here’s the punchline, you fill in the rest.
“Oh baby, how did you know that was just what I wanted?”
“How did you know my name was Katz?”