Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In Which Silence Makes an Unexpected Reappearance

An interesting thing happened today. While listening to Chopin’s Etude in G-flat major on my work computer, my CI battery died. Abruptly. Whatever the reason – that it didn’t charge correctly, that its life is diminishing with use – the result was silence. Total and uncompromising, where piano chords had rolled only an instant before.

My reaction was ironic – and, I soon found, amusing. Stupid, stupid battery! I was enjoying that song! Now I have to wait hours to hear again! Why couldn’t you wait until I had a spare? [Prod, shake, shake, shake, tap, frown.] Ha, I would never have felt this way several weeks ago, when all I wanted to do was tear the CI off.

What arose, this time, was a sudden feeling of being severed from part of my world. How dependent I’ve become on a battery and a bit of silicon. I still had my hearing aid in my right ear, of course, but it was comparatively useless. I sat at my desk, expecting to hear the sounds I’ve learned since the end of June, the sounds I’ve come to take for granted. They were not there. Or, they were still there somewhere, but not for me. What I could hear was muffled and diminished, rather than sharp and bold. My surroundings, besides what I could immediately see and touch, seemed detached. Even in my quiet office, I’ve grown used to hearing people walking down the hallway, the air conditioning humming, fax machines and printers whirring, phones ringing, vacuum cleaners roaring. The world living, moving, thrumming. Now, without sound, it was as if that world had retreated, leaving me sitting alone inside my own mind.

This, I thought, is the way it used to be. This was my reality. Amazing, just how much the CI has embedded itself into my experience and my expectations. Though silence is fine with me during intentionally solitary moments, I’ve come to crave sound. Anything less is disappointing.

And it’s only been two months!

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