Essays

Peace and Quiet

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Maybe you’ve heard the saying you only appreciate a thing after you’ve lost it.

Well, here in Carpenter Country, the short one can agree with that. She didn’t appreciate her semi-deafness until she began using hearing aids.

That may sound weird, but for quite awhile the world’s noises fell very quietly on her audio-deprived ears. After she acquired hearing aids, quiet became clamor.

At home, the dishwasher rattled. The washing machine groaned. The dryer whistled. The microwave and the stove beeped, thankfully not in unison.

To get away from the din she went to the mall and found the parking lot decorated with muted holiday cheer. But inside loudspeakers blared messages to employees, salesclerks rattled money and Santa jingled his bell, which was okay until the little kids began screaming for candy.

Back in her car, the rumble of her stomach told her she was hungry. Unfortunately, even without hearing aids, most restaurants are noisy places. With good hearing the rattling dishes and scraping chairs sound even louder.

Then there was the music be-bopping from hidden speakers. True, the volume was high for a reason. It made people eat faster and clear out more quickly–a strategy the short one was just about to agree worked–when suddenly the noise level dropped and roars became whispers.

What was going on?

She touched her ears. She still had her hearing aids in.

But–ah, bliss–the batteries had died.

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