Lovely Housemate walked into the kitchen last night to find me holding a pair of giant red lips against my ear.
Hmmm… wait, let’s try that sentence again. Lovely Housemate walked into the kitchen last night to find me holding our entire telephone against my ear – which happens to be in the shape of a pair of giant red lips.
I got it free from work.
The reason for this was the rents were phoning from France, where they are staying with French Aunt, and it’s free to call my landline but not my mobile. The only problem is, I can’t hear the phone ring – hell, I can hardly hear the phone fullstop – but if I pressed the base of it against my skull, just behind my ear, I could feel the vibrations, so knew when it was ringing and therefore, when to pick up.
It’s weird how I can talk to my rents on the phone more easily than everyone else. I sometimes wonder if I’ve got some sort of audio memory because the more time I spend listening to someone, the better I start to hear them. And, seeing as I have been listening to the rents for nearly 28 years, I pretty much know every lilt, quirk and sentence that they’re likely to say.
Sure, it’s a lot of guess work, too and I don’t always get it right. New Housemate called me last night and seeing as I haven’t really explained my deafness as yet, I had to pick up. I know there was talk of a meeting tonight, I know NH had had a good day at work but there’s a big blank bit in the middle where for all I know, NH could have been saying, ‘Thanks but I’ve changed my mind.’ With me going, ‘’Yaaas, great, great, OK, well I’ll see you tomorrow then.’
When I was younger, I met a boy on the beach in Fiji – he was from London and had a kind of hybrid Aussie/Kent accent that I couldn’t understand for the life of me. But I thought he was great. And being 14 it was so cool that when we got back from holiday he used to call me. I used to sit there eyes shut, phone pressed right up against my ear willing myself to hear at least one sentence of what he was saying. But I rarely did. Instead I would say lots of hmmmmms and aaaaahs and vague responses that I thought matched the tone of his voice and, after 10 minutes he would hang up.
‘How’s Fiji Boy?’ my Ma used to ask.
‘No idea,’ I’d reply.
And do you know, he kept calling me for nearly 10 years!
That’s the weird thing about the phone… to look at there’s nothing intimate about it – it’s a piece of plastic, which according to the BBC has more germs on it than your toilet seat. And yet, people who use it can achieve amazing levels of intimacy with the people at the other end.
For me, that all has to happen in person, or by text message because if you start whispering sweet nothings down the phone at me, it will fall on deaf ears.