*Special thanks to the Koschka for the creepy lolcat idea. He showed me the trailer for this Japanese cult film that apparently features this bizarre, Mick Jagger cat-monster that Koschka was sporting on a t-shirt in Fiction class one day. Koschka, by the way, is waiting to hear back from an amazing job op in Madison, Wisconsin.
I’m beginning to think that my birthday week is the best week in existence. Last year, I got a niece for my birthday. This year, I get a house, and I get to live in it with my man-friend, who does dishes and laundry and likes my cooking. And my Dad likes him. That part kind of throws me off; like, “Ok, Dad…so when are you going to reaveal your true supervillain identity and dangle my boyfriend over a lava-filled crater?” I guess I have to wait for the ten-minute monologue to figure out his true motives…o.O
At any rate, he bought me gardening tools for my birthday. THERE WILL BE KALE! (cue Dan Day face and epic soundtrack.)
Gardening is one of several projects I have planned for the next year. It is one of three that I will be doing alone (the other two being finding a grad school and a 9 to 5 so I can start paying my undergrad loans.) The others all involve Uji, and include things like re-finishing cabinets, learning how to live with each other, and working on something I had never contemplated before–hearing comprehension.
A few days ago, Uji and I took a walk down to the beach to watch the sunset (we’re gross like that) and he brought up how very imperfect hearing aids of all kinds are. The device that goes behind your ear is bulky, mimics tennitis, and over-amplifies loud noises, white noises (even the wind blowing!) and something tells me that they have sort of a tinny quality, like a cheap radio or a pirated movie. The kind you get surgery for present a huge risk, because they don’t always work, and even worse, the effects can fade with time. My ear-bud style headphones are okay, but Uji tells me that if you spend your whole life in silence, being able to hear doesn’t fix the problem of not understanding what you hear.
I’m a music nerd and I carry my headphones everywhere with me when I’m in school, in case I end up needing to work late in a lab. I started doing it again when I figured out Uji could use them to hear YouTube videos. I also have a smart-phone that I barely know how to use, but which has an idiot-proof video camera with relatively good picture and sound. It’s by no means professional quality (unless you’re Bruce Baille. I wish I was sometimes.) I can, however, record short clips of things like throwing a rock into the ocean and it will pick up the “plunk!”
At first, Uji was ambivalent about listening to what I recorded for him. He tells me it’s a matter of pride in deaf culture to bear your silence with dignity, rather than trying to compensate. I admire that idea because it forces people to see someone as a complete person even if he doesn’t hear. I’ve been very careful never to pressure Uji about hearing because of it. Uji, however, is a naturally curious man, so he put in my headphones, scowled at the clip, and asked, “Are you making that noise?”
“No, Honey; that’s what a rock that size sounds like going into the water.” He thought this over for a minute while I wondered if it would be possible for me to imitate that sound, and I got another idea. “I don’t want to pressure you into going along with this, but I have an idea. What if I was to make you a video every day of a different sound? That way, you could hear things and learn to understand what you were hearing. You don’t have to…”
So far, we’ve gone over the fountain in his parents’ birdbath, tea-slurping, the weird growling sound that the Munchkin makes into her blanket when she’s sleepy, the weird noises that Uji makes when he’s imitating “The Grudge” and rattling his teeth (which I can’t do,) and me singing “Die Blaue Donau” in a horrible squeaky voice while I poke him in the face.
Because that is love.
For tomorrow, he’s picked the weird noise that Koschka makes by pressing air through his lips and strumming them like a guitar string.
I mentioned earlier that I got a niece for my 27th birthday, and on Saturday, she will be a year old herself. She walks, she gets into everything under the sun, will chew on anything with her perfect little teeth, and she’s starting to get her mother’s unruly hair. I wish her the best that life has to offer, including the cojones to stand toe-to-toe with her hellmonkey brothers and later in life, whoever gets in her way. HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY, CHUCKY THE SQUIDGE!