I went to Gordon Ramsey’s gastro pub the other day for dinner with London Aunt and friends and it was delicious. There was soda bread, pea soup of the most fantastic colour, and a caramalised onion tart that seemed to last forever. There was champagne too, which is never a bad thing.
While there, and in between mouthfuls of the tastiest asparagus ever, I told London Aunt that I still hadn’t found a subtitled copy of Withnail and I for us to watch. Her response was lovely – she simply pointed out that while this was still missing from my life experience, now is a much better time to be deaf than say 20 years ago, because the technology is so much more advanced.
And, how totally right she is. You see, I remember going deaf, I remember watching Drop Dead Fred and The Goonies at girlie sleepovers and having absolutely no clue what was going on. The late 80s and early 90s were not a good time to be deaf – but being younger made it easier. I didn’t have boys to chase, we’d only just got a TV and I wasn’t that bothered about it either to be honest.
By the time boys came into the picture properly, I had a mobile and could so we could text in those first awkward weeks when I wasn’t familiar with the tone and mannerisms of their voice.
But that’s not all – now I know that nearly every programme I watch on TV, there will subtitles – not great ones always – but a gist is better than nothing. This list could go on forever: the voice to text service on my phone so I never miss a voicemail; the subtitled announcements on Virgin and Midlands trains – must convince the service to my parents’ house to sort that out – I nearly had to jump out of a window the other day as the train was too long for the platform and I couldn’t get out – there had apparently been announcements...
Instead I managed to run the length of four carriages at breakneck speed and hurl myself out the door with such force that my arm nearly came off when the momentum caused my suitcase to keep going long after I had tried to stop.
Then, there’s the theatre. Tonight I am going to see a subtitled play for the first time in my life and I am really excited. Usually if I go I take a small torch and the script and read along, which is not quite the same. I can’t wait to watch a play with ease and enjoy it, instead of getting bored and falling asleep because I can’t hear a thing.
But perhaps my favourite thing that exists now that didn’t exist then is email. I’m looking for a housemate at the moment and trying to sort the whole thing out on the phone would be a nightmare. But as it is, I get all these lovely messages delivered to my inbox, name there, details there, request there – absolutely nothing to mishear or muck up.
And, what excites me the most is that, imagine what life will be like in another 20 years – hopefully there will be some amazing hearing aids that work like glasses and everything will be crystal clear. Best of all though, if the hearing aids aren't quite there yet, I am hoping that somebody will have thought to add subtitles to Withnail and I.