I just realized I left out an anecdote when I finished up Hazel’s repair story. (I was in the midst of the aforementioned cold at the time, and I was kind of powering through the story rather than the usual meandering way that I write. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.)
So anyway, I had mentioned that because we couldn’t get Hazel started, and we don’t have a second car, we had to have the car rental people pick us up at the house and give us a ride to the actual rental facility. We’d never done this before and weren’t sure how it worked. I thought maybe they would arrive with the actual car we were renting. We were debating the logistics of this when a car pulled up in front of our house and we heard the horn honk.
Dave reached the car first and got into the back seat. I was about to slide in next to him when the girl who was driving, we’ll call her Tina, told me that I was welcome to sit in the front seat. Back in the days before my cochlear implants, this would have made me extremely nervous. Sitting in the front seat means you are obligated to make conversation, whereas the person in the back seat can kind of sit back and zone out without looking rude.
Well, I didn’t want this nice girl to think I thought she had cooties or something, so I didn’t hesitate to sit in the front seat.
She was very friendly and talkative; this would not be a trip made in awkward silence. The first thing she told us was that this was not the car we’d be renting, and I laughed and admitted we’d just been wondering about that when she pulled up. Then I started telling her about our saga with Hazel, explaining why we needed a ride to the rental place (and thanking her profusely as well).
It was about a 25 minute ride to the facility because we’d had some snow and the roads weren’t completely plowed. I chatted easily with this girl for the entire ride, something that would have been agonizingly difficult for me when I just had hearing aids. I didn’t hesitate to ask her questions and make comments when she told us stories about her family. In the past I would have kept quiet in an effort to keep conversation to a minimum (less worry about not hearing something properly that way).
At one point she asked Dave something that he didn’t catch (sitting in the back seat makes it especially hard because you can’t lip read). So I turned around and repeated it for him, making sure he could see and hear me. Then he explained to Tina that we both had hearing loss – that I was totally deaf and heard with cochlear implants, and he was partially deaf and had a hearing aid for the ear that could still hear. She’d never heard of CIs so we explained how they worked, and basically we blew her mind. It was fun to see her expression change as we spoke, to see her amazement at the technology that makes it possible for me to hear.
When it was time for us to return the car a week later, Tina was working at the counter. We handed over the keys and gave her an update on our car. Then I asked her if she knew the location of the Michael’s store – we knew there was one nearby, we just weren’t exactly sure where it was. (We wanted to stop in and look at their Christmas trees.) She laughed and said, “Wow, God works in mysterious ways!” I gave her a quizzical look, and she went on to explain that she was just going through a bunch of Michael’s coupons that she was going to throw away because they expired in one day. Then she handed us two coupons for 50% off, and explained exactly where the store was (not far from where we already were). How crazy is that?!
I mention that because before my CIs, I would never have asked that question. I would look the information up on my cell phone or something, but I would never take a chance and ask another person where something was because I could never be sure I’d hear or understand the answer. Having the confidence to ask that question opened up a whole conversation about a craft Tina was working on, and also the aforementioned coupons she was nice enough to offer.
I’ve mentioned before that I have trouble with the phone, TV and movies unless I have captions. But there is a night and day difference in the most important thing to me, face to face conversations with people. As long as the person doesn’t have a heavy accent, I almost never miss a word.
As we walked back to Hazel that day, I remarked to Dave that I felt like I could talk to anyone now that I could hear so well. Of course, Tina was especially easy to talk to because she was so friendly and outgoing. But I had no problem keeping a constant flow of conversation going, and I never once worried about what I would say next or if I would be able to understand what she was saying.
It was such a good feeling, and so fun to connect with another person in a way that I never would have before my CIs.
Last month I wrote this (long) Facebook status:
There’s a 9 year age difference between me and Dave, although I rarely notice. It really shows up, though, when it comes to music. He recalls the Creedence Clearwater Revival version of Proud Mary; I remember the Ike & Tina version. For Dave, Spirit in the Sky is by Norman Greenbaum … but he patiently watches as I show him the (CLASSIC OMG) video for the version I know and love, by Doctor and the Medics. And I present the following conversation (which took place earlier this week as we watched The Voice, and a contestant sang ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’):
Me: Who sang that song? Was it Bad Company?
Dave: Um…I don’t know, I think it was some kind of soul/R&B group.
Me: No, it was southern rock kind of stuff. (pauses TV) Can you check? It’s driving me crazy.
Dave: (gets tablet and searches) Oh yeah, it was the Drifters. Now I remember.
Me: What? That can’t be right, let me see. (Dave hands me the tablet and I scroll down)
Me: There it is – Grand Funk Railroad!
Dave: (takes tablet back) That was in 1974, you were only 10 years old. How do you remember that?
Me: Oh, honey. All I did in 1974 was listen to the radio. I kept a cassette in the tape deck and my mission in life was to run fast enough across the room to hit ‘record’ when my favorite songs came on the radio. I probably had 5 or 6 cassettes with multiple partial recordings of this song.
Ah, those were the days.
* * *
It wasn’t just songs on the radio. I would also carefully read the TV Guide to see if any of my favorite singers were going to be on TV. This was about as close to seeing them in concert as I could get, and it was a huge deal. I’d put a fresh cassette tape in my portable tape recorder, then set it next to the TV speaker and record their performance. I think I may have taped at least half of all the Sonny & Cher shows that way; if someone had told my 10 year old self that in the future, I could push a button and record not only the sound but also the video … well, I think my little mind would have been blown.
So anyway, last night we had a replay of almost the exact same conversation that I had described on Facebook. We were watching The Voice and a contestant sang ‘Without You.’ After it was done, I asked Dave how he liked it and he said he thought it was a terrible version of that song.
“Well,” I said, “I think someone like Celine Dion covered it and turned it into a ‘diva’ song. She was probably singing that version.” (We can’t stand that, by the way.) “It was originally kind of a rock ballad from the 1970s. Who did that song anyway?”
Dave said, “LeAnn Rimes? Trisha Yearwood?”
I stared at him.
“I think maybe we’re thinking of different versions,” I said carefully. I mean, I don’t think LeAnn Rimes was even alive in the 70s, was she? I grabbed my phone and did a search.
“Okay, yeah. It was done by Badfinger in 1970.” I scrolled down on the Wikipedia page. “It was covered by something like 180 people, though. OH – it was Mariah Carey who did the diva version, not Celine Dion.”
I kept looking and didn’t see any reference to LeAnn Rimes, so I did a separate search and we found out she did a completely different song with a similar sounding name. (Makes sense that Dave thought it was a terrible rendition of her song … since it wasn’t her song.)
Then Dave was acting like he didn’t even know the original song, so I made him suffer through a tiny Youtube video played on my cell phone, lucky guy. But he did admit to recognizing it though once he heard the original.
The other day I read somewhere that Angus Young from AC/DC is 59 now. I did the math and thought, “Oh, he’s only nine years older than me.” Back when I was really into AC/DC, he seemed so much older, you know? Then I realized he was Dave’s age.
“Did you know that Angus Young is the same age as you?” I asked.
“Who is Angus Young?” Dave said, confused.
“You know, Angus Young from AC/DC.”
“OH,” he said. “Isn’t he the one who tried to have someone killed?”
“Oh my god, no. That was the drummer. Angus Young is the guitarist, the one who usually dresses in a British schoolboy’s uniform.”
And, well, then I started giggling. Yes, Dave is his age. But I can’t picture Dave dressed as a British schoolboy.
At least I don’t think there would be any confusion over who did “You Shook Me All Night Long.” It hasn’t been covered by Merle Haggard or Charlie Pride, has it?!