Every day there are two buses that I can take to and from work. As I mentioned in Subtitled Travel (July 08) one of those buses now has a shrill talking voice announcing the next stop, accompanied by some rather nifty subtitles. And, I discovered on my way home from work yesterday that the other bus is at it now, too.
But this one really freaked me out and here’s why…
As a teenager I used to have to go for fairly regular hearing tests on account of my every decreasing hearing. This involved being shut in a soundproof room the size of a small cupboard and having headphones clamped to my head, which then emitted a series of sounds to which I had to respond to by pressing a button.
I used to hate these tests – not even the promise of missing the afternoon of school was enough to want to make me go and there were often tears of frustration as my tinnitus kicked in, I failed to hear any of the beeps and I was told yet again that my hearing was going. They’d then pack me off with my newly-adjusted hearing aids, which were always so loud I fell over.
Now, because my ability to understand speech is one of the main problems that I have (consonants are pretty unheard of these days), I used to have to do a word test, which involved sitting on the most uncomfortable chair opposite a giant speaker out of which a voice came spouting words, which I then had to repeat back. You could get up to three points for each word if you got the beginning, middle and end sounds correct.
So the word test went something like this:
Word list one
Book… took… look… hive… thrive…five… duck… luck… truck…
I was terrible at these tests and most of the time my responses sounded like a caveman’s alphabet. Unsurprisingly too, the last words in the above list were my favourite as I always managed to hear an ‘f’ really clearly at the beginning of every single one. It was a fantastic way to let off steam.
Now, I haven’t had one of these word tests in a really long time – I had buried them in the back of my mind labelled ‘Unpleasant Experiences Not To Be Repeated’ along with double maths at school and the performance section of my degree! I had almost completely forgotten about the taunting voice of the word test woman
…when she started talking on my bus. I actually broke into a cold sweat when the bus number and location were announced – all these memories came flooding back and at every single bus stop I half expected her to blurt out, ‘luck… tuck… duck’
I walked to work this morning…