Sunday, December 11, 2005

I knows you been down, Foxy Brown

Hey y'all where you been? I been looking all over for you. Lead me on and leave me hanging…not cool.

Aight, where to start? More than a month since I checked in last. I’m going to refrain from commenting on the state of our national affairs since that time, or on the state of the Knicks (6-13, come on, get it together!), or on the marriages, separations, and other goings-on of our supercelebs. Except for one: Foxy Brown. Ever heard the name? She’s a rap star and over the last year she has suddenly and inexplicably gone completely deaf. Understandably, she is scared and worried that her career is over. She can’t hear Jay-Z when he calls! She’s also, no lie, on trial for beating up a manicurist. Poor thing! To Foxy then, I dedicate (in my very deepest voice) the following message:

“Foxy, welcome to the silence. It is your friend! It has been here all along. It is always on your side. This world is noisy and the noise can convince you that silence is your enemy, but it is not. Use this quiet time to get know yourself. Ask yourself: what makes Foxy Foxy? Is it noise? Does noise make Foxy? Do clothes make Foxy? Or is it something else? Then, after the appropriate time, get an implant. Because let me tell you, these things work.

“How well do they work, Ms. Brown? Let me say that in all honesty, I am now thinking of taking singing lessons myself. Not that I could ever dream to match your vocal stylings, lyrics such as: ‘They say I'm stoosh cause I cover my bush/ In that Dolce Gabbana, I'm a hot little mama’ – that’s out of my league, but with this implant, I’m hearing shadings in voices that I could never hear before. I’ve always sung to myself in the shower and while stuck in traffic, but only now have I started pick up differences in tone and pitch. Only now can I consistently pick out song beats. It’s delicious, hearing all these accents and inflections. But I got a voice only a mother can love, so I am going to take singing lessons.

“It’s wild, Foxy. It’s stoosh. What you lost, you can get back. P.S. love the name of your album.“

This is all true. I hear so much better than ever before that it’s kind of disconcerting. The steady compromises and creeping isolation I’ve been dealing with these last five years – that’s history. I always wanted, for example, to do some journalism work, but figured people wouldn’t like being misquoted sixteen times an article: I now feel like I can easily cut that in half. There are so many other new possibilities too. It’s an exciting feeling to discover the future is twice as large as you pictured. The world is wide – let’s go!

Except not to a classical music concert. I ain’t going to those. Last week (or the week before, time’s all mushed when you slog on your blog) I went to a performance of a piano concerto composed by my roommate Carl. It was an emotional performance in a small and beautiful museum on the Upper West Side, but it sounded to me like a badly tuned funk synthesizer. Like electronic frogs croaking on the bank of a white noise river while electronic geese cawed overhead and electronic tugboats blew their foghorns bringing forth cheering electronic women from the riverfront bars -- that’s a metaphor, eh? It’s just not good listening. So ixnay on the classical music. It appears at this time to have too much decibel range for the implant to understand. But you and I can’t sing that stuff anyway, Foxy, so it’s cool.

What else? In this last month, I have, for the first time, experienced talking to people while sitting in the dark and talking to people while not looking at their faces. There are friends whose voices I have never heard well in all the years I’ve known them, who I now hear with a clarity that is frankly ridiculous. Except for Carl, he’s a tough one with his droll delivery and clipped quick Minnesota accent.

“You’re my holy grail, Carl,” I said. “When I hear you, I’ll know I’ve made it.”
“That’s right,” he said. “You’ve got to earn it.”

Even Sam sees the difference, he’s already having thoughts of going bilateral – that is, getting an implant on his other ear, so he’ll be doubly plugged into the matrix. I’m not there yet – as I sit here and write this, I have my implant off and I’m enjoying the blessed, soothing silence. It’s good stuff. Don’t take it for granted Foxy! Call me.


Blogger Bankable Poetry said...

I've tried understanding Carl too. Alas, in vain. But I chalk that up to being half French.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed your blog. I'm glad it's back and even more glad to hear how glad you are to have had the implant! glad! glad! glad!
Josh, If you do choose journalism you are setting the bar too high. 8 misquotes per article is better than average for the field.
Happy birthday ! Raphy

5:44 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

I'm going bi-lateral?!? Hey, you misquoted me. Nice work!

6:16 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

Damn, bankable, now you're half french?!?

7:19 AM  
Anonymous bankable poetry said...

Bankable needed to open more international accounts to reach the foxy level of revenue... Not there yet.

11:51 AM  
Blogger rebecca said...

You're back! It's great to hear how well things are going. Though I think you may be in for a rude awakening when you learn *no one* in our family can sing.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Rachel Loftus said...

Old friend,
My parents told me about your Blog. I am mucho impressed. Way to hussle on the Sam Alito baseball picture(props). So happy to hear about the implants, and what a book it would all make. Still stuck in Birmingham, but trying to upgrade to THE ATL.
Rachel Loftus

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Deaf Audiologist said...

I'm not sure that "welcoming" a late-deafened adult to the deaf world is the most appropriate here, Josh.

In fact, as a deaf audiologist, I've had the experience with having to explain many late-deafened adults their hearing loss. Not one of them would ever have liked to have heard what you said.

Personally, I would be extremely offended if you said that to me after I lost something that was so dear to me, even if I did take it for granted.

I had to put my dog to sleep yesterday - would you "welcome" me to the world without dogs?

On the bright side, I love the blog (just not how you phrase things sometimes, I guess!) and I love hearing about peoples' experiences. They are always different, which is fascinating but also the reason you should realize that all deaf/Deaf people are not like you - they might not like to be "welcomed" to a world so unique to them.

5:17 AM  

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