by Bella Rum

portly-gentlemanA week or two ago, I mentioned that I can hear fine but not as fine as I once did. This is more exasperating because H’s tone tends to be low and his volume is low, too. That’s my story. I must have lost the lower frequencies because I’m constantly asking him to speak up. I guess that’s not right. You lose the higher frequencies first, don’t you? I don’t know. Anyway, I have to ask him to repeat himself about ten times a day, and the worst part is that when I ask him to speak up, most of the time he still doesn’t speak loud enough for me to hear him. My theory is that he’s gas lighting me.

We were on the cracker aisle in the grocery store last week, and H was squatting down on his heels about ten or twelve feet away from me. A very portly man stood between us.

I asked H, “What are you looking for.” I heard a low mumble from his general direction. So I said what I say most often these days, “What?”

I don’t know what the word ‘what’ means in your family, but it means ‘speak up’ in ours.

I heard him mumble something else. Trying to give him the hint to speak louder, I said, “WHAT” a little louder. Then he mumbled again. That’s when the portly gent standing between us decided to get involved before we all ended up on the evening news. He turned to me, and in a courteous and reasonable voice, the kind you use when talking to someone standing on a ledge, he said, “He said he’s looking for the Thin Crisps.” Then, in H’s defense, he offered, “I’ve been told that sound can’t travel around me.”

I’ve heard that women lose the lower frequencies and men lose the higher range. That way old men can’t hear their wives and old women can’t hear their old men. I have no idea if this is true, but I do know that we’re now dragging strangers into our little drama.

Grouse, grouse, grouse!