Posts Tagged 'mis-hearing'

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subtitle swear word

Walking through the crowded shopping precinct on the way to work, I knew I was in trouble when I spotted a slightly deranged looking old man rushing towards me, waving his finger as if scolding an unknown entity.

“Excuse me! Excuse me!” he shouted.

I tried to pretend I hadn’t seen him, but as soon as he was close enough to start waving his finger in my face, I was forced to stop. My latest trial pair of multifocal lenses immediately zoomed in on a couple of large NHS hearing aids precariously attached to his head, and I was temporarily distracted by wondering what model he had.

“Excuse me,” he shouted, “where’s the fuckin’ television?”

That’s a bit strong for nine in the morning, even in Glasgow, I thought.

“Sorry, where’s the what? ” I enquired, hoping I had misheard, and wondering just how deranged he actually was.

“The fuckin’ television”, he repeated, “The fuckin’ television”. I tried to look blank as I worked out an escape plan, but the television man was persistent. He continued to repeat his question whilst I continued to look blank, but at least the accusatory finger waving had ceased.

All of a sudden, I picked up on an amplified slushy ‘SH’ sound at the end of fuckin’ television and the penny finally dropped in the cookiebite cortex.

“Ah…the television shop”, I said, relieved that he didn’t have an imaginary television which went everywhere with him. “Which one?”

“Which what?” said the man.

“Which television shop” I replied, “…you said you were looking for the television shop?” I left out the fuckin’ for the sake of propriety.

His response was indignant. Perhaps he thought there was something wrong with my ears.

“Ah tellt ye, Hen…Virgin…Ah’m lookin’ fur the Virgin television shop!”

In my defence, the lip shapes of a guttural Glaswegian pronunciation of Virgin (Vuurgin) and the expletive are rather similar…


In retrospect, the lip shapes of ‘telephone’ and ‘television’ are clearly rather similar too, in any accent!



When Santa could do with hearing aids…

creda cavalier cooker


Over Christmas, I was wondering when I first became aware of my propensity for mis-hearing things, when I suddenly remembered an early childhood incident. On that occasion, it was not my own hearing which was at fault, but that of the elderly Santa, upon whose knee I was excitedly perched, in a grotto in the middle of a Glasgow department store.

“So, little girl, what’s your name?” said Santa, before being seized by a sudden phlegmatic bout of coughing.

“Moira!” I replied with great enthusiasm. With three days to go until Christmas, I needed him to remember me.

“Eh?” said Santa, leaning a bit closer. His beard smelt of nylon and cigarettes.

After several repeats of my name, I was getting impatient, but eventually Santa seemed to have got the message.

“So, Moya, what would you like me to bring you for Christmas?”

I decided it was best not to antagonise Santa by correcting him on the name front.

“I’d like a scooter please Santa!”

“A cooker?” said Santa, a little incredulously. “That’s a very unusua…”

“No, not a cooker, a scooter! A red one!” I interrupted loudly.

I was getting slightly anxious now. I had to make Santa understand what I was asking for, since the last thing I wanted to wake up to on Christmas morning was a cooker. That special treat is reserved for when little girls are much older.

“A what?” said Santa, looking round to my mother for help. Unfortunately she had secretly vanished to the nearby shoe department and was busy eyeing up a purchase with four inch purple platform soles. Poor old Santa was on his own with my high pitched voice and confusing consonants. After several unsuccessful repeats, I was still in danger of getting a cooker, but this time a red one with wheels and a bell.

Finally, Santa looked at his watch, changed the subject and reached into his sack. I thought I was going to absolutely die with the suspense and did my best to suppress a little shiver of excitement. What was going to emerge from that sack? After another short bout of coughing brought on by the exertion, Santa handed me a very small parcel.

My heart sank. I was devastated. There was no way there was a scooter inside THAT.

“Thank you Santa”, I said politely, hoping that Santa’s elves might have overheard the earlier part of our discussion, and safely deliver me a red scooter with a bell on Christmas morning.


I’m All Ears

A Visit From The Tooth Fairy

It’s been horribly busy at work lately, and the last thing I needed was the mysterious arrival of a pulsating hard lump on the roof of my mouth. I’m generally rather slow in getting round to making dentist and doctor’s  appointments, but I make an exception for anything which has developed its own pulse.

After a pleading phone call to my dentist brother, I was in his surgery the next evening. I was half an hour early, as always, and my extreme punctuality combined with some ill-judged fake nodding and smiling to the receptionist in response to something inaudible, caused a brief case of mistaken identity in the waiting room. Fortunately, the person who actually did have an appointment at 5:10 finally got it and I amused myself in the meantime with the atrocious ‘Britain’s Got talent’ on the flatscreen telly.

A little while later, the singing chihuahuas in a shopping basket being booed off the stage were a memory, and I was prostrate in the dentist’s chair, being probed in the palate by a succession of ever longer pointy instruments. Strangely, I couldn’t feel any of them.

“Ah, yes,” announced big bruv triumphantly, “I think we’ve got an ‘unerupted 5’ here…”

My heart began beating visibly in my chest, and I wished I’d never furtively read all of big bruv’s dental textbooks when he was a student. I sat up in horror.

“What! I’ve got a tooth coming down through the roof of my mouth? At 45? Oh my god…”

I went a little faint as my over-active imagination instantly fashioned a David Cronenberg extraction scene in horrible close-up. It was a hideously creative mashup of the Tooth Gun sequence in Existenz merged with some graphic bone chiselling scenes from the fascinating ‘Children’s Cranio-facial Surgery’ documentary I’d watched on BBC2 the other week while the spouse was out. To add to my rapidly increasing anxiety, a dentist’s drill started up somewhere along the corridor, lending some unwanted real sound effects to my already vivid mental picture.

An x-ray was done, and as I waited for bruv to re-appear with the results, I squirmed at the ever louder high-pitched drilling going on along the corridor. I couldn’t hear any screams, but with my auditory track record that didn’t really mean anything. When the door finally opened, I was relieved to see that the drilling noise was actually the cleaning lady hoovering the carpet because everyone else had now gone home.

“Hmmmm…” said big bruv as he peered at the x-ray. “Strange. It’s not an unerupted 5 after all. Don’t know what it is… think this needs a second opinion.”

I was elated that the horror extraction through the roof of the mouth was off, but dismayed that a second opinion was required since in my experience, they’re usually far less cheerful than the first one. My white-knuckle grip on the neckline of my cardigan tightened as dentist No. 2 deliberated over some extremely faint hairlines on the x-ray. The second opinion was, that a piece of root left behind from an extraction 35 years ago might be lurking invisibly and causing the abscess. A series of x-rays from increasingly bizarre angles followed, but revealed nothing conclusive, other than that it’s a good idea to take your hearing aid off before having an x-ray, so it’s a case of taking some antibiotics and waiting to see what happens next.

Nothing like a nice bit of suspense now and then…

Consonant Harmony

“How’s your food?” asked the spouse hesitantly as I tucked into his lovingly prepared home made burgers and potato wedges at the Buteshack last night.

We had been dining in silence after a slight contretemps over some bathroom DIY earlier, where the spouse had walked brown floor adhesive all over the carpet, and a 1kilo plastic tub of window putty had fallen off an overloaded shelf on to my painfully naked big toe. The one with the bunion. Both of us had been the authors of our own misfortunes but had chosen to blame each other in the heat of the moment, because that’s one of the major benefits of being in a relationship.

Some peace-making was now required.

“Absolutely delicious, Hun, best yet”, I replied with exaggerated gusto, so as to reassure him that his status as Domestic God was restored.

“No, not your food”, said the spouse, “your foot…FOO-T.”

“Oh that…it’s fine”, I lied, amazed at how much eating burgers can affect your hearing. is born

Clayed Moira on left, try it yourself. Don’t try the one on the right

“See that woman in Sainsbury’s”, said the spouse as he spread some funny looking paté on a piece of toast yesterday, “the one that torched herself on the checkout? She’s a right nutter. I mean, you go up to the till with your basket, right, and she’s looking at you as if…”

“Torched herself?” I interrupted, suddenly showing a morbid interest in what had previously been an extremely dull conversation. “Why did she do that?” I had just been having great fun claying myself on, but I couldn’t see anyone having much fun torching themself.

“…What?” said the spouse, losing his thread.

“You said: that woman, ‘the one that torched herself in Sainsbury’s’…”

“…Eh?” said the spouse, “don’t know where you got that from.”

“Think!” I commanded. I was going to have to walk him through the last sentence without risking him going right back to the start of the story. “You said: ‘see that woman in Sainsbury’s, the one that torched herself’… ”

“Christ!” wailed the spouse, “Talks to herself. TALKS. TO. HERSELF.”

Context is All

In the noise and sweaty jostling of the crowded pub on Friday night, I found my mind wandering to my trail of recent misdeeds. I could console myself that the fruit scones in Sainsbury’s hadn’t been harmed. The ‘No’ to a request at work had been instantly forgiven. The out of date ticket which had resulted in me being stopped at the barriers as I got off the train on Thursday, was a simple mistake anyone could have made. Well, anyone who was distracted by manoeuvring a hearing aid and an iPod to chat to a pal, and never empties their pockets, that is.

Changing the settings on the office phone, on the other hand…the implications were profound. What if one of my colleagues got temporarily deafened by the ear-shattering bleeps as they dialled a fourteen digit International phone number during one of next week’s recruitment interviews by phone? What if the unexpected 2dB increase in sound output from the handset caused a colleague with good hearing to suddenly collapse and bleed from the ears while they were listening to a nervous candidate describe their artistic ambitions in their second language? What if…

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by an arm slipping round my waist and a pair of lips approaching the left lug. I turned to find that the arm belonged not to the spouse, but to a well-dressed woman who had just made a bad choice of ear into which to talk in a crowded pub.

“Sorry,” I said “didn’t quite catch that…”

She repeated her words, but I still didn’t get it.

“Sorry,” I said, “I’m a bit…”

“HADES!” she said loudly.

“What?” I said in astonishment. Why was she saying ‘Hades’ to me? Was she some kind of messenger of the Apocalypse who had been sent to warn me that I was about to end up in Hell for tampering with the volume settings on the phone? Blimey, that’s a bit harsh!

“HADES!” she said again, as if reading my thoughts.

“I’m sorry,” I said for the third time, “I don’t understand…”

“Ladies” she said, “Where’s the Ladies toilet?”

There She Blows

There’s been a bit of boiler trouble going on at Cookie Bite HQ recently, bringing back memories of the last major boiler incident. If only I’d had the hearing aid back then…

On a dark and stormy night in 2009, a phone call from the downstairs neighbours gravely informed us that sheets of water were running down the outside of their kitchen window. Nothing unusual in that, except for the fact it wasn’t raining at the time. A glance at the somewhat elevated pressure gauge on the boiler told me that something had gone horribly wrong.

“What’s that noise?” said the spouse, as I ripped open the door to the pipework and began fumbling about as if I knew what I was doing.

“What noise?” I replied.

“That kind of rumbling noise…it seems to be coming from the pipes…”

“Oh, shit”, I said as I realised that I hadn’t turned the stopcock fully off after I’d topped up the water in the boiler two hours previously. The system had continued filling to a dangerous pressure, and the safety overflow was what was responsible for our neighbours’ unwanted water feature.

“Got to get this stopcock closed quick, or we’re in trouble”, I grunted, applying my full bodyweight to the annoyingly stiff tap, to no effect. The rumbling noise was now loud enough to break through my hearing threshold and was making me somewhat edgy. I gave the tap one last desperate anti-clockwise twist, and finally felt it move. The relief was short-lived.

“Oh shit”, I exclaimed, “it’s come off in my hand!” I stared with disbelief at the now useless stopcock. There was now only one thing left to do. Panic, and swear a lot.

Continuing to enact my textbook demonstration of why I would be temperamentally unsuited to land an aircraft if the captain had a heart attack, I turned aimlessly in circles with the heels of my palms clamped to my temples until the spouse found a pair of pliers. The rumbling noise had now reached an alarming level, and an image of an aerial view of a pile of rubble in the evening news bulletin flashed through my mind. I snatched the pliers and began the delicate operation of trying to turn the remnants of the stopcock to the shut position without snapping anything else off by accident. Dripping with sweat, I finally succeeded. Phew. I had saved us all from disaster.

Strangely, the rumbling noise was still going on. Then all of a sudden, a sharp click was heard, followed by silence.

“Oh…” said the spouse apologetically, “…I forgot I put the kettle on before the phone rang.”

It’s always safest to ask

As we leafed through the newspapers in bed this morning, the spouse turned to me with a faraway look in his eyes and said,

“Would you like a Benson sausage?”

What the heck is that I thought. The butcher’s name is Cranston.

“Is that some kind of euphemism?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t since I had a bit of a headache.

“Eh?” said the spouse. “Do you want one or not, make up your mind, I’m getting hungry.”

Relieved that we were, indeed, talking about food, I asked cautiously “What’s a Benson sausage?” I was worried it might be another of the spouse’s experimental forays into oddly flavoured bangers, like the pork and apple ones that tasted of car air freshener.

“VENISON SAUSAGE. I SAID VENISON.” groaned the spouse.

The Woman Who Mistook…

In a moment of cava-induced enthusiasm at the degree show opening a couple of weeks ago, the spouse bought a tiny bird sculpture from one of the students of the ceramics department. I think he must have been missing the magpie babies after their sudden disappearance. There was a bit of haggling over the price owing to the influence of alcohol, so the puzzled young artist got five quid more than he was asking for, and promised to deliver the goods once the show had ended.

The ceramic bird is clearly not a homing pigeon, because two weeks on, it still hasn’t appeared, but this morning I was walking through the empty studio and spotted it perched in the sunshine, in a hole in one of the exhibition boards where a computer monitor had previously been.

Flippin’ students, I sighed to myself, what a stupid place to leave it.

As I got closer, my missing bird disappointingly turned into a big lump of discarded duct tape and I marvelled, not for the first time, at how my disordered sensory faculties always prefer to opt for the ludicrous rather than the logical interpretation of what is presented before them. Like when Ted Danson said on a tv drama the other night, during a courtroom scene, “Let’s make a splash” and I heard “Let’s make a swordfish”.

Now I can see why I might have mistaken a lump of duct tape for a bird, but that swordfish has got me stumped.


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