Saturday, May 25, 2019

Selective Deafness

One fine summer afternoon, I visited a botanical garden. Within in it was a rose garden with a tranquil pond in the center. It looked like the perfect place for meditation. And in fact, there was a guy sitting by the pond upright and motionless with his eyes closed and a blissful grin. But at the same time there were what looked like field trips of middle schoolers bustling through and you know how noisy they can be. But the meditating guy was completely unfazed. Somehow he tuned it all out. I said to myself, “Damn, that the guy’s good.” And then I said to myself, “Or maybe he’s deaf.” Wow! I guess sometimes deafness comes in handy.

There are a lot of times when I wish I was deaf. Sometimes I travel with the hell-raising cripples of ADAPT. We come from around the country and gather in some city, usually D.C., and we protest hard. In order to save money, we stuff four people into a hotel room. So it’s inevitable that sooner or later, you’ll end up sharing a hotel room with somebody who snores like an asthmatic grizzly bear. And I would give anything to be deaf then.

And because I live in the middle of a big city, often there have been guys working with jackhammers outside of my window. I think that’s when I wish I was deaf most of all. I don’t know why guys who own construction companies don’t make a big push to recruit deaf people to do the jackhammer jobs. It seems like it would make good business sense. They’d probably save a lot of money on earplugs.

I’m not saying I want to be deaf all the time. Only when it works to my advantage. Selective deafness. I wish I had the magical power to do something like blink three times and turn off my hearing when something cacophonous is going on and then blink three more times and turn my hearing back on when the coast is clear. I imagine some people feel the same about me when it comes to parking. They want to be crippled long enough to snag that sweet parking space right outside the front door. And as soon as they leave, they don’t want to be crippled anymore.

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