Deafness is another area of hot competition; whose is worse? Forget the miss-speaks of Hillary Clinton infamy, miss-hears are an hourly occurrence in our house.
Me: ‘I’ve decided against getting one of those new smart mop things they’ve been advertising on tele…’
He, absently: ‘But they collect a lot of dead bodies.’
Me, incredulously: ‘Dead bodies?’
‘Yes, those smart moth things you got last year, they worked quite well before...’
Then it’s his turn.
Me, half-listening to the radio: ‘Are they telling us how to make masks?’
He (cracking up): ‘No, it’s some chap telling his elderly father not to fast.’
Not that we are alone in the deafness stakes. Sitting on the right of my host at a pre-covid dinner party, I was rather taken-aback when he leaned forward and fiddled with my decollate. ‘Just fixing this mini mike,’ he said, ‘it talks to my hearing aid.’
My husband is onto his second pair of hearing aids. The new ones are near invisible and brilliant – when he remembers to wear them and have them charged up. They come with an ingenious cordless-phone type charger, a great step up from those tiny batteries that he was always dropping and scrabbling about on creaky knees, trying to spot.
I could resort to hearing aids too, but for my vanity and stubbornness. And I get by, or so I fondly think. I nod solemnly (and sagely, I hope) when I haven’t quite caught the drift, as though listening intently and in deep accord. It isn’t a full proof solution. A nod, however solemn, can be met with looks of shock and incomprehension. And then the snide query. ‘Have you actually heard a word I just said?’
The joys of becoming an octogenarian!
But 80 is only a number and as long as you can see the comedy and keep looking your best, there’s a lot of happiness still to be had.
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