Is it a bird?

Feeling flushed with success, I decided it was time to give the ol’ Siemens its first outdoor trip. The plan was to wear it on the short 5 minute train journey into work, take it out and then see what it was like in the relative quiet of the office at lunchtime, before even thinking about venturing out into the studio at some indeterminate point in the future. The spouse was going the same way to work that morning, so we headed to the train station for the 8:39 to Glasgow Central to have a nice leisurely start, because it was going to be a full-on day. Tickets bought, the announcement came that the 8:39 was cancelled. At 8:57 the 8:57 was cancelled. At 9:07 the 9:07 was cancelled. At 9:18 the 9:18 and everything else was cancelled, and with temperatures at minus 10 degrees, and blood pressure right off the scale, we realised we had to either move or be found frozen to death in a suburban train station. I could already see the headline in tomorrow’s Metro newspaper: TRAGIC LECTURER DIDN’T HEAR TRAIN ANNOUNCEMENT.

We started walking in the hope of getting a taxi. Mercifully the ice on the unsalted pavements had largely melted, but after 20 minutes of walking through all the rubbish revealed by the thaw, taxi idea abandoned, we hit sheet ice territory. As I encountered my first gentle slip at a set of traffic lights, recent library news footage of people falling on their arses in the current cold snap reminded me to proceed with caution. The traffic was at a standstill, but I was pleased that even though we were now trudging along one of the busiest roads in Glasgow, my lugs hadn’t yet exploded off the side of my head as I had expected. Then, in a familiar pattern of fall following pride, my autonomic nervous system helpfully folded my body in half in a reflex action, bent my knees and clasped my arms round my head just as a sound rocket slammed into it. It was new ‘car passing’ noise but a million times louder.

“Holy crap, WHAT was THAT?”


Said with the nonchalance of lifelong familiarity with the full hearing spectrum.

Crikey. Mental note #2: ‘House with concrete floor, not under flight path’ was made.

By this time, I was now officially in a very bad mood. Very bad indeed. There was still another 20 mins walking to be done on sheet ice, students would already be waiting to be taught and worst of all, there would be no time for a nice cup of tea before bracing my eyeballs for their storyboards. I managed to eventually reach the office without further major incident, but a series of strange unidentified whistling noises on the way up the stairwell put the tin lid on my tin ears. My colleague was innocently standing near the studio door, as I burst through it clawing at my ear like someone in a bad hospital drama trying to tear their drip out.

“Hi Moira, the first group are ready to start. How was…”

In a mad internal sci-fi mashup, I was now turning into Mr Hyde and losing the power of speech.

“G-g-grrrr-g-got to, got to get this bloody thing out of my *******ear first…”

I burst in to the safe haven of the office, only to discover my other colleague doing a tutorial in there, with my way to the planned hearing aid hiding place in my desk barred by a huge portfolio and the student sitting in my chair. Fortunately she was deeply engrossed in discussion and didn’t seem to notice the dishevelled figure bent over her handbag at the door, with mud all up the back of her trousers, performing a sleight of hand trick with a hearing aid and a tupperware box.

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