Saturday, April 17, 2021


Coming out of SpecSavers yesterday afternoon wearing my new NHS hearing aids, the paper bag which holds the case and batteries for the ear thingies bumps against my coat as I walk. The sound the crinkled paper makes is Maria Callas struck by lightning on the top of Mount Athos. People pass by talking to each other or to their phones and morsels of their words hit my ears like hailstones. I sit down at a table outside a café can do that now.. and chewing a soft slice of lemon cake is like jackboots tramping down an old wooden staircase. Never mind what the coffee sounds like as I swallow it.

Back home typing this, the keyboard keys are Fred Astaire tap dancing on a steel drum without rhythm or music. I talk to myself and it’s like a dentist living inside the patient's mouth.

Partial hearing loss began several years ago and I've had hearing aids before but never followed audiologists' advice to wear them daily so the brain can gradually get used to the sudden blah blah etcetera. Since I could hear fairly well I didn’t need to put up with the stuffed-ears-feeling of wearing them all the time. But now, well, you know, time passes and reality is reality. I’ve got these brand new, free, technically much improved hearing aids and I will obey advice and wear them daily. Let the sounds do whatever sounds want to do. After two weeks I can go back and have adjustments made if necessary.

At the table next to mine outside the café, a woman sat very still, her back to me, no food or drink before her. On a leash strapped to her hand was a curly yellow-white dog, its tail wagging non-stop in unbridled happiness. So happy and alert to everything around that it was contagious. Talk about mindfulness! This mutt was in the Now, absolutely totally. I asked the silent masked woman if I could take a photo of her happy dog. She said yes. The dog jumped on her lap, sitting to attention, exuding happiness.

I felt happy like the dog and walked around for a while taking photos. Camden Town today was almost back to normal.

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