Archive for March, 2010

What’s in a Name?


2010
03.10

If you have to go to your child’s event, you need to pay special attention to what they name it.  If it is a, “Festival” or an “extravaganza” you may be safe, but if it ends in an “-apalooza” or the dreaded, ” -athon” you are in deep trouble.

Depending on what those in charge name it might mean that you will be there all evening, usually with mothers running a snack bar where you can find limp pizza, brownies, popcorn and that weak Kool-aid that is made with double water and no Kool. Jazz-athon?  You are there for at least 6 hours; Festival of Bands??   2.5 to 3 hours.  Band-apalooza?  All day, multiple bands, kids running and screaming everywhere, perhaps one costume change.   Art Extravaganza?  You may get out in two hours if you are lucky.  Just a word to the wise as we head to the end of the school year-athon.

We All Just Want to be Heard


2010
03.08

I was talking with a friend recently, explaining a problem that I was having.  I said, “Yes, but I don’t need an answer, I don’t need them to do anything about it, I just need to know that they hear me!”  Isn’t that what we all need?  To be heard?

I admit right now that herein is my problem: as I am aging my hearing is going. I don’t know why, maybe I turned my walk-man up too loud listening to Quiet Riot back in the day.   Perhaps it fried my eardrums.  All I know is that I sure don’t hear like I did when I was younger.  When my kids were babies, I could hear when they spit up in their beds, tossed a pacifier over-board out of the crib, or pulled the tab on their pull-ups trying to break out of their protective fanny garb.

Now, I don’t even hear when they walk into my bedroom at night; I only know that they are there when they violently shake me.  How could I hear them over all that slobbering and snoring that I am doing?

To be honest, the main reason my hearing is leaving me at this early date is allergies: I’m so plugged up that I can’t hear anything. This has become a huge issue in my life. Consequently, I am engaged in conversations like this that actually happened between my son Will and me as we drove down the street to school:

Will:  I forgot to tell you, I used the last carton of milk in the fridge.

Me:  Oh that’s nice that you joined a card club, Honey.  Do you play cards before the first bell rings?

Will:  (LOUDLY)  Mom!! I’m NOT in a card club!  We need a new carton of milk!

All he wanted to do was to be heard.  All I wanted to do was to hear.  Someone buy me an ear trumpet, my hearing days are numbered.  Maybe I will be a good lip reader, I don’t know.  Something needs to happen.

One of the things that absolutely drives me crazy is when my husband Mike tells me that he loves me.  Well, not that that drives me crazy, but the way in which he chooses to talk all lovey-dovey to me is not working for me in my current hearing impaired condition.  He will gently take my head in his hands and start to whisper sweet endearments to me, all the while cupping his hands over my ears in what is meant to be a tender embrace but in reality is a plugging of the old auditory canals.  He says, “I love you Kork, I want to….”     I respond, “Huhhhhhhh??? What the heck did you say?”  Somehow the foreplay has gone completely out of that for us.  Stop plugging my ears, Mike!

Sometimes there is a fine line between what I think I hear in my head versus what actually happens.  Imagine that you are at a restaurant and you hear a beeping.  I bet you pick up your cell phone to see if you have a text or a message, don’t you?  This means that technology has caused you to have a Pavlovian response: you hear a cell phone beeping, and even though you are pretty sure that it wasn’t you, you check anyway.  Why?   God forbid that you would not be in constant contact with the world 24/7 and if you miss a call, how will you know how to call them back?  Technology is not always your friend; sometimes it is your crack cocaine.

Technology often causes us not to use our brains anymore.  Have you ever paid for something with cash (who does that anymore?) and the person to whom you gave the cash has no idea how to make change for the money you gave him?  He has to put it through his cash register or calculator so he will know what exact change to give you back.  I think it’s best if businesses allow the people who work for them to be able to use the technology and use their brains at the same time.  I know that this is a novel idea, but stick with me….

How many times have you been through the drive-up window of a fast food restaurant and said to the pimpled-faced kid speaking over the intercom:

Me: “I’d like a cheeseburger…”

Drive thru worker:  (Interrupting) “Do you want to Super Size that?”

Me: “No thanks.  I’d also like a small order of fries”.

Drive thru worker:  (Interrupting) “Do you want to Super Size that?”

Me: “NO!.. but I’d also like a chocolate malt”

Drive thru worker: “We don’t have chocolate malts.  We have shakes.”

Me: “Oh, I see. I’ll have a shake then.”

Drive thru worker: “Okay.  What flavor?”

Me:  “CHOCOLATE!!!”

Drive thru worker: “Do you want to Super Size that?”

Me: “NO!  I do not want to Super Size any of that.  I want a cheeseburger, fries and a Chocolate malt or shake or whatever chocolate ice cream beverage that you have in that damn place!  Don’t ask me again if I want to Super Size my order, you’ll be the first to know if I want to Super Size my order!

Drive thru worker: “Oh, okay then.  Well, would you like to donate a dollar to the Stop Juvenile Obesity Fund?”

Me: “You’ve got to be kidding me.!  I’m at a fast food restaurant and you want to stop Juvenile Obesity?  Juvenile Obesity is what keeps you in business!”

Drive thru worker:  “Drive around to the first window to pay, and if you are going to cause more trouble I am going to call my manager.”

Usually I am just thrilled that we actually can communicate through the walkie-talkie like menu ordering board.  I don’t know, have I lowered my standards?  To hear and to be heard are not over-rated and in fact are under appreciated.  Now, if someone will just tell me how I can get my husband to whisper sweet nothings into my ear trumpet we might be in business again.