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.

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