Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Audial Encounters

I've never had the best hearing. I mean, I can usually hear you if you're standing next to me and talking and my selective hearing works great. But chances are, if you ask me, "did you hear that?" I will do one of two things: 1. say no, look at you like you are a little loony and start a new conversation. or 2. say yes and change the subject before you have time to start a discussion about what "we" just heard. However, I have found that my hearing ability is drastically improved in certain environments and scenarios. One of which, unfortunately, is the theater. I say unfortunately because my hearing isn't just improved in terms of the actual show, it also starts to pick up any and all distracting sounds around me.

Allow me to provide two examples:
1. A few weeks ago, some friends and I attended a play presented by Shakespeare in the Park. It was a lovely evening. The show was hilarious. Lord Benedick was more than easy on the eyes. But one man ruined the entire show. He was sitting in the center section laughing hysterically through the whole play. Now before you go thinking I'm a kill joy and I can't let other people laugh, let me explain. You see, his laugh wasn't normal, or even loud. No, he laughed like an oxygen machine. You know those portable oxygen tanks that Sittis and Jiddis (that would be grandmas and grandpas) carry around? The ones that make a sound every five seconds that sounds like a brief shot from an air compressor? He sounded like that. The whole time. He didn't stop. He just kept making that horrid hissing sound and ruined every laugh line in the play. It drove me out of my mind.

2. Then, just last weekend, I attended a movie theater to see a movie. The lights were down, the movie was playing, and what do I hear? No, not talking, or a cell phone. Snoring. I heard snoring. One hour into a two and a half hour show, this man started snoring. It was horrendous. And the thing is, the people with him didn't make him stop. I mean, if you went to a movie and someone in your group started snoring really loud, wouldn't you nudge them or shake them or throw your $12 drink on them to wake them up? It was pathetic.

Considering the things I endure when my hearing is at peak performance, I think I much prefer partial deafness.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Endearing Encounters

Question: Do you ever meet someone and instantly you both feel like you've known the other for years? Me too. It's strange and inexplicable, but I'm pretty glad it happens.

Second question: Do you ever meet someone and THEY instantly feel like they have known YOU for years while you are still at the "I just me you" phase? ME TOO. It's strange and uncomfortable, and I get weirded out when it happens.

I find that most people express their premature comfort level through various pet names and compliments in conversation. Like the lady at the Braum's drive-thru window the other night. I placed my order and she called me "Darling" after she told me to pull around to the window. THEN, when she gave me my ice cream, she called me "sweetheart." I wouldn't have been too weirded out if she was some sweet older lady, but there's no way this lady was much more than 40. It was strange and slightly awkward.

But our waitress at lunch today takes the awkward cake.

I went to have lunch at a sushi place with two friends. I arrived last, and when I sat down my friend informed me that our waitress would be very happy to see me and that she was very excited about serving us our lunch. Not knowing what to expect, I chuckled and waited for her to come by. Four seconds later - she popped by and said, "Oh, our third has arrived! I'm so glad you're here. What can I get you to drink, darling?" At this point I am mildly entertained and just laugh and continue with conversation.

She came back and said, "are my girlies ready to order?" Not only were we not really her girlies, but we were not ready to order. So she cracked some joke and did this insanely ridiculous laugh where she tilted her head back and slightly to the side while shrugging her shoulders and showing too much teeth. It was painful. Really painful. But she was our best friend. She just knew it. She was so certain, that on top of countless other insanely uncomfortable pet names, she at one point called my friend "Shnookems." Really. She said Shnookems. To my friend. Whom she had never met or seen. I wanted to die laughing, but at the same time a part of me wanted to run away from the scary lady as fast as my legs could carry me.

On the plus side, my friend has a new nickname. She doesn't know it yet, but she will soon learn I have every intention of calling her Shnookems for the next few weeks.