Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Of Dreams and Hearing

I dreamt about Louise Hirsheiser last night. A lot: her name kept recurring throughout the entire course of the night, over and over again: Louise Hirsheiser. Louise Hirsheiser. Why I should be dreaming of Louise Hirsheiser may have been more clear had I the slightest idea of who Louise Hirsheiser might be. But I don’t. I’d never heard of her before. And she never physically appeared in any of the dreams, though one about halfway through the night tried to solve the mystery. It appears she was responsible somehow for the death of my mother, and was willing to pay me $2 million for my loss. However, I had to write the check myself. My father, played with the brilliant logic of dreams by actor Sam Waterston, gave me the check, which was under a sheet of glass, and a pen. Naturally, the pen wouldn’t write on the glass, and Sam was angry with me for not being able to do so. In an odd mixture of frustration and sadness, I started to cry (so real a cry I woke myself up).

Not having Siggy Freud’s Big Book of Dreams at hand, I was only able to guess at what any of it meant, if it meant anything at all. They do say that dreams are the mind’s housekeeper, sweeping up the dust-bunnies of the previous day’s thoughts and sorting out and filing recent experiences and our inner reactions to them. But for me, dreams underscore my utter fascination with life and the importance of being aware of and enjoying every aspect of it, whether it makes sense or not.

I think part of my ability to ramble endlessly, and my problem with being able to stick to one subject or idea for very long is a subconscious reaction to just how much is going on in and around me, and how very little time there is to even attempt to process it all.

And so in my fine tradition of mixing apples and walnuts, I find myself doing it again with this blog. Start out with dreams, move on to ears. Perfectly logical segue…to me, anyway (dreams are formed in the space between the ears, after all).

And, of course, as the years pass more and more quickly, I become more focused on the physical changes that take place as part of the aging process and the reluctant realization that denial and railing against the inevitable aren’t going to change things. But that doesn’t…and I hope never will…stop me from making it clear I have no intention of going gentle into that good night.

Physical changes are generally gradual, and I have noted that I frequently have trouble understanding what people are saying. It isn’t a matter of not being able to hear them speaking: it isn’t the volume that’s the problem. It’s the fact of intelligibility. I watch TV and am aware that I haven’t any idea of what in the hell these people are saying. And turning up the volume does not help: I’m simply and inexplicably finding it harder to distinguish words. “This is what I am saying” too often comes across as “Tmbr eh jllwe I’b plebus”. Frustrating. And being assured that this is perfectly normal for “someone my age” drives me up the wall. It may be perfectly normal for everyone else, but it is NOT “perfectly normal” for me and I’ll be damned if I’ll accept it.

My vanity aside, I would not be averse to looking into getting a hearing aid, were they more affordable, but I can put up with a lot of mumbling for the $3,000-up I understand hearing aids cost. Besides, I live mostly inside myself anyway. What do I need to know what other people are saying for, anyway?

Have I mentioned that reality and I don’t get along very well?

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