HUH?

Dear Nice Men of a Certain Age, Married or Single, Tall or Short, Wide or Thin, This or That, From Here or There,

GO GET A HEARING TEST.
I said, ” YOU! NEED! YOUR! HEARING! TESTED!”

You’ve lost some – some of you have lost a lot – of range. And I am tired, now that I have been trying to make acquaintances and have light conversations with people in my new town, of being looked at askance, being misinterpreted, and being misheard. Being looked at askance. Twice. Mostly at the leash-free dog park, where a whirlwind of citizens drop by at any daytime hour.

My wide eyes should suggest that some kind of faux pas has occurred, originating – from the direction of my guiding, incredulous, high-eyebrowed gawping –  from YOU, but you are oblivious. And I cannot bring myself to LAUGH OUT LOUD, because, frankly, it would be mean.

A recent news item suggested the worst plague affecting middle aged men these days is loneliness. Ha. That’s just a symptom of many things, hearing loss (as this writing proves) being just one cause. Your early lifetime socialization is a crippling phenomenon that only you can identify and repair. It’s not something about which I am qualified in or willing to assist. BUT YOUR UTTER DEAFNESS OF THE EARS? That, we all experience. It’s adding to the cringe pile. It is a problem you need to get on top of.

Now, mansplaining I understand. Some of you are ten, twenty years older than I am, and that’s just how you talk to the, uh, ladies. I am capable of interrupting that, and startling you with pithy and pertinent and surprising questions, to get you back on track to what I wanted to know, and discovering whether you do, in fact, know it. I like conversations with all sorts of people, on all sorts of topics. People are full of surprises and knowledge and dreams.

But willful deafness, and the propensity to blurge ahead, to fuffle and blibe? You silly old rooster!

YOU DIDN’T HEAR ME. BUT YOU STARTED TALKING ANYWAY!

AND WHEN YOU DO THAT, YOU ARE ALWAYS PATRONIZING.

IT IS ASTOUNDING.

I have spent over a week with the giggles. I seem to have built up the quantum requirement for being tickled, permanently, upon the recollection of Hilarious Statements by Old Guys.

Your family at home is used to you, but they let you go outside unattended. They may have pushed you outside, but I will not meddle in matters familial or private, except to tell you that you might be much less grumpy, far better understood, and nicer, IF YOU WENT AND GOT A HEARING AID.

Your shameerly,

Shimmy

March Sixth: Ontario, Canada

The heralds of spring are beginning to arrive between the gray and the brown. Canada geese, mallards, and some kinds of gulls have been around, eking out a miserable, cold living all winter, but here it is, March Sixth! One red-winged blackbird ca-ronks, then twees, and shakes out its feathers while perched in the dried rushes. Crows and starlings gather on the ground in the trimmed verge, picking at small stones and gravel. Silently, a rather large flock of loons paddles around and around the centre of the pond. They dive, but I don’t think there are any fish in there. I hope I’m wrong. Next to the paths through the recovering and rehabilitated dump, the dog field is muddy, but not so spongy as it could be. We don’t sink in and disappear. Yet.

We walk the paths through the wavy dead grasses and the small patches of trees. Mice must be awakening, in their little villages under all the wild thatch. The dog stops frequently and listens. They stop, down there among the roots of this endless tangle, and wait for us to move along.

It will snow this week, no doubt. It will rain tomorrow. It will be cold, and colder again soon.

But the red-winged blackbird is here.

Can you feel every living thing unfolding?