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Can you hear me now?

The Mister spent thirty-three years as a machinist, and this was back in the day when hearing protection had not been mandated by law, and those who used same were looked on as sissies…sissies who could hear, mind you, but sissies none the less. Alas, the constant noise of the shop took a toll, and I find I often have to repeat myself to him. He’s been thinking about hearing aids lately, but I suggested he get an ear trumpet instead, not just for the money savings which would be substantial, but because an ear trumpet has a certain undeniable panache that hearing aids simply cannot match.

He’s thinking it over.

My ears, on the other hand, function at the other end of the spectrum. I hear very well, but have a low tolerance for noise of any kind. I’m easily startled by even a moderate degree of unexpected noise, and a stereo turned up to the comfortable level for The Mister makes my ears feel like they’re being assaulted. I gave up going to concerts, dances, and movies long ago. Some years back I learned the name for this condition is “hyperacuity,” and it’s led to a few tiffs between my beloved and I. Watching television together was becoming impossible. I pleaded with him to get some earphones he could adjust to the volume he liked while I could turn “the damn thing down” on the remote. He was slow to take action on this however, until I showed up to watch TV wearing ear plugs – the big, garish, orange-coloured ones. The Mister made a face and said, “Message received, Missus.”

“Awesome,” I said.

The unexpected downside of the earphones is that they enable The Mister to focus entirely on the television to the exclusion of all else…including me.

Well. What to do, what to do?

I discovered if I spoke loudly while he was wearing the earphones, he would respond briefly and immediately return to his regularly scheduled program. But if I pitched my voice a little lower and softer, he would have to remove the earphones and give me his undivided attention.

I decided to make a wee game of it, I did. How many times can I get him to remove the earphones in an hour.

Last night, I aimed for three times.

We were watching an old Rock Hudson war movie called Hornet’s Nest. The Mister had been watching intently for quite some time when I made my first gambit.

“I really don’t like those guys,” I said quietly.

He pulled off the earphones.

“How’s that?”

“I don’t like those guys,” I repeated.

“Well…they are Nazis.”

“Right. So it’s okay not to like them.”

“Sure. I guess.”

I smiled and nodded contentedly and he replaced the earphones.

“Especially that guy,” I continued. “He’s so smug and disdainful and…gestapoey.”

He thought about that for a moment before removing the earphones.

“What was that last bit again?”

‘”Gestapoey.”‘

“And what exactly is ‘gestapoey’?”

“It’s a certain attitude. Difficult to define, but you’ll recognize it when you see it.”

“Uh-huh. Particularly if the guy is, in fact, gestapo.”

I smiled again.

“There you go!”

I turned back to the screen, but out of the corner of my eye I could see him staring at me for a good long time before he put the earphones back on. We watched contentedly for a few more minutes before I said, “That’s also a kind of soup, isn’t it?”

He slowly, ever so slowly, slipped the earphones down the back of his head to his neck.

“What?”

“Gestapo. It’s a kind of soup, right?”

He slipped his fingers beneath the nosepiece of his glasses and squeezed the bridge of his nose.

“That’s gazpacho.”

“Really?”

He shook his head. “Well, why would they name a soup after the gestapo?”

“That was going to be my next question.”

He rubbed his forehead. “Are you going to bed anytime soon?”

“Hadn’t planned to.”

“Tell you what – you go to bed and let me finish watching this in peace, and I’ll make you some delicious gestapo soup tomorrow for lunch.”

“Alrighty.”

He couldn’t see my victory fist pump in the hallway, but I’m pretty sure he felt it.

:-)

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2 Comments

  1. Michelle Harris
    Posted June 17, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Hahahaha!!! You are the queen!

    • Penny-Anne
      Posted June 18, 2015 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      Aw thanks, sweetie! And, yes I am! :-)

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