Saturday, October 08, 2005

French Coffee and the King of Hearts

Hey all, another week gone by. Things are going well, what can I say? I went to the movies on Wednesday, a dark and tense flick called The History of Violence and I was able to understand maybe 50 percent of the dialogue which is a good 25 percent more than I'd been able to before the implant. When I wore hearing aids, the only movies I saw in the theatres were foreign flicks and Van Damme type shoot 'em ups,those being the only ones I could follow. Bang, bang, Monsieur,another coffee? Ah, these falling leaves remind me of our own mortality, the nukes are armed and all that. Can get dull after a while, waiting for Monsieur to figure out his wife is sleeping with his best friend and for Jet Li to stop trying to act and start snapping elbows. History of Violence, it should be pointed out, has both good coffee and snapped elbows, and you don't need to wait long for each.

I could follow the movie pretty well even though I couldn't quite decide which implant setting was best and changed it every five minutes or so. The music didn't come through the implant clearly at all, but everything else wasn't bad. Another miracle to chuck on the pile…I must be getting jaded.

At school, for each class I have two sign language interpreters, who alternate every twenty minutes. Already I don't really need them anymore, as I can follow the lectures with lipreading and the sound I'm getting, but the terps are hired through the semester, so every now and then I pretend not to follow what's being said and look to them. Don't want them to feel lonely. When class is dull, I sign with one of them about her honeymoon in Hawaii last June and her upcoming plans for a Caribbean Cruise.

It's been amazing how quickly things have changed. Last spring, I couldn't understand a word of class without the terps' help. Just five months ago almost all my communication was in sign and that language was familiar and comfortable. Now, at work, I have several clients who communicate entirely in sign and I already feel rusty,like a visitor to their world.

New York City continues to amaze. On the way to the movie Wednesday, I was walking through the Union Square Park Greenmarket and was passed by two 6-5 men in full hockey goalie gear – sticks, pads, facemasks,everything.
A man walking next to me turned in my direction with a look of disbelief.
"Only in New York," I said.
"That's nothing," he said. "If they were naked that would have been something."
"Good point."
"Naked, but still wearing the pads and the mask, you follow?"
I nodded my agreement, couldn't argue with that.

Then after the movie, I was sitting on a bench in the same park and I looked up to see a man dressed exactly like the king of hearts. A foot high crown made with vertical strips of red and white, a similarly colored jacket with poofy shoulders, and a scepter – the works.
"Evening," he said and sat down and smoked a cigar.
"Evening," I said back.
Then he stood up and whacked his scepter on the benches. Rats raced back and forth across the path.

What else? The implant is still set too dang loud, but I'm getting used to it. Keeps slipping off as my hair is getting longer. Voices clarify more and more. At some point soon, I'll start practicing hearing on the phone again, but for the time being, I'm enjoying being out of the loop, so I'm in no hurry. Blog entries will be a little less frequent now, as the major questions surrounding the implant have been answered. To recap:
Would it work? Yes.
How would it work? Well.
Are there headaches? Less and less.
What does it sound like? Clean, crisp, refracted through a computer. Clarifying every day.
And what did you learn? Well, I went to the movies on Wednesday…

If you have any questions, send them along. Otherwise, be talking to you soon.


Blogger Carl said...

Sadly "terp" is no good in Scrabble.

12:44 PM  
Blogger weslah said...

hmm. so the dictionary says no to 'terp.'
well then, what does one call a scrawny, weak turtle?!
and dudes that go to maryland?!

11:20 PM  

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