In the past I’ve complained about various parts of my body starting to mutiny as I get older, so I thought I should give credit where credit is due: My ears are still loyal citizens of the Kingdom of Diane.
Mind you, they do enjoy making me look like a goofball on a semi-regular basis. F’rinstance, they don’t necessarily translate other people’s speech accurately. Some of the things I’ve thought I heard would raise an eyebrow or two. But considering that they have to use my brain as an intermediary, my ears are probably doing the best they can.
Their preferences can be picky and arbitrary. I always carry a set of earplugs because movies are invariably too loud. Same with live bands, and sometimes even noisy bars. Outdoors I shoot wearing sound-dampening earmuffs; indoors I have to use muffs and plugs because muffs alone don’t soften the reports sufficiently for my princess eardrums.
But give me the fat lolloping rumble of a tricked-out big-block with straight pipes, and I’ll just grin and soak it all up earplug-free. Until I get to the drag strip and those pipes really start to bellow. Then I need earplugs again.
But I don’t mind indulging my ears a little. They’re good ears. I can tell whether a CRT is switched on without even being in the room, because I can hear the high-frequency electronic resonance. When we had cats, I could always hear them coming by the sound of stealthy paws compressing the pile of the carpet.
Or, as my brother-in-law puts it: “You’ve got ears like a fruit bat.”
(*Giggle* I originally mis-typed that as ‘ears like a fruit bag’, which is an entirely different thing.)
Anyway, I didn’t realize how dependent I am on my hearing until I had a bad cold and both ears got blocked. Apparently I cook based on sound. Whether it’s the barbeque or an open fire or the frying pan, I know it’s the right temperature when the food sizzles properly. Pancakes sizzle at a different frequency than, say, scrambled eggs. Foil-wrapped potatoes/butter/onions over an open fire should sizzle loudly but not crackle. Until my ears cleared I hovered anxiously over everything I cooked, wondering whether I was cremating it or barely warming it.
Since I’m a gearhead, I’m also attuned to even the tiniest change of sound in my car. We were driving this weekend when I mentioned to Hubby that I’ve been noticing a very slight whine lately that might be drivetrain-related. He couldn’t hear it even when I hummed its frequency (admittedly not the most effective diagnostic tool, since I can’t carry a tune in a bucket).
But I know he has a few flat spots in his hearing, so I remarked, “Oh, well, it’s probably just in one of the ranges you can’t hear.”
And he said, “Oh, you mean like the ‘wife zone’. Guys don’t pick up that frequency at all.”
I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that…