Friday, May 03, 2019

these days i don't hear so well - it's not that i've lost everything, but i often feel like my ears never popped, or like i'm in a swimming pool trying to hear people that are outside of it. because i know the sounds are out there, and that on some level i could still get most of them, i'm not too upset about it. but because i feel like i need my c-pap, but also feel like it's filling my cavities with some kind of congestion, i somewhat feel trapped into accepting it.

the problem is, there is so much racket in my life, that i'm kind of grateful. the junior high is full of people who simply can't shut up, and my only recourse is to yell at them constantly, since i don't really get mad about that stuff anymore. there is a steady racket that is basically not my concern. and then i come home, and it's pretty much the same: three teenagers and a 10-year-old in a small cabin, lots of media, things i detest if not just get tired of. i tend to tune a lot of it out.

the problem is more when people try to say something serious to me, at a normal pitch, and i just plain miss it. this happens a lot. sometimes i ask them to repeat and i still miss it. or sometimes i make assumptions about what they want and i'm wrong. i give a lot of permission at the junior high - to go to the bathroom, to go down the hall, go to the nurse, go to the office. but i can't keep track of where they've gone if i never even heard it. so far it hasn't got me too bad. this particular group of kids, the ones i had this week, seemed to mean what they said, and came back after a reasonable time. they aren't all like that. it's a world where a certain amount of genuine interaction is required, and getting harder.

i look forward to actually retiring. we are moving out to the country. i will remain an online tutor and will probably even teach chinese kids for a while (job #2 and job #3), but if i come back to the public schools it will be in cloudcroft itself, where classes are smaller and it's a little calmer. my time at the urban junior high is limited.

meanwhile i had a cushy assignment today, gifted kids in small classes who worked, told the truth, and pretty much left me alone. so i was trolling around my computer trying to find a good writing project; i've been interested in biographies and have been trying to figure out who i wanted to write about.

my first choice, several weeks ago, was joe arpaio. it was partly because he'd keep my mind off tr-mp, or prove to me that there are worse people out there. he's a sheriff in arizona who set up a concentration camp, gleefully. but he's a real slime, and a criminal too, and besides, it's all political, and someone already wrote the book, not to mention the fact that he, egomaniac that he is, wrote his own.

so then i thought, i ought to do a musician, and the first one i thought of was natalie maines, who had a huge feud with the city of lubbock and the texas country scene, causing them to disbar her, reject her, and refuse to buy anything she participated in. the thing is, i had some personal connection here, since i knew some people who had made a movie with her in it, and with george strait, and other notable texans, and yet when the crash came, it ruined their movie, because she was in it. i always thought she was a good musician: good voice, driving sound, good backup band; she knows what she's doing. and she has a musical family who of course i could look up.

but i didn't get far in trolling around news stories until i found out that she had married an actor, had two sons about 17 and 14, and the guy is suing her for $60,000 / month alimony / child support. $60,000 / month, and this is for teenage boys who by and large run out of the house every morning, saying whatever, and don't come back until late. the actor himself makes $160,000 / year, he says, but he says that since she makes 12 million, or whatever, she should fork some of it over. so they sell their austin house, that's also in the news, but, basically, they live in l.a. and have a place in new york (i think) for all those times that they have to be there.

in the end, i just didn't want to read any more about it. no judgement on her, or even him, but i had enough.

so my last choice worked out much better. that was bela fleck, and, as it turns out, abigail washburn, and their young boy juno, who is now about 6. now these three i really like. fleck went to africa to dig into the roots of the banjo, and has played with all kinds of musicians all over the place. ms. washburn has been an ambassador to china, where she made old appalachian folk songs into chinese country songs, and sang them. it's a great story. the next step would be to contact them and tell them i'm writing about them, and want them to cooperate. i might get on this soon. the story just made me happy. every interview that was published, i liked what they said. they are serious and good musicians, but not too serious about themselves. these are the kinds of people i would like to write about.

my own banjo, i can barely pick up. my hearing aids amplify the tinny part and my ears reject the actual tones, so that i get a lot of unpleasant noise. this happened also at the concert band, where my 13-year-old played, tonight. i have gone to a long series of concert band performances, and end-of-year performances, and since my wife has a kind of public anxiety, i'm doing all of that these days, for the four remaining, while she of course does the medicine, the food, the bedtimes, the laundry, etc. it's more than fair but it's hard on the ears. if you can imagine, one more concert band can almost seem like one too many sometimes. but, back to my subject. i've reached the point where the tinniness drives me inside my own head, and gets me to focus on something that's not so unpleasant. one can only take so much racket in this world. and i still tell my daughter, you played well, i heard your solo. this as far as i know is true, as i did hear part of it, and knew it was her, and, i think she was good. i'm not sure because, as i've said, i've lost the concept of "in tune," in the racket. there's just too much tinniness around.

i spend some time weeding, and doing rocks, out in the yard. the weeding in particular is satisfying. it is nothing considering what is coming - moving, and finishing a dumb rock project that includes making sure there's enough parking. so with this enormous, overwhelming task in front of me, sometimes my back hurts just thinking about it, and then i weed, as a way of resting for what's coming. three more weeks, and we hope to be moved out of here, more or less. and there are several big luggy things to move, that also hurt just to think about them.

ah but where we're going - to a country property way out in sixteen springs, out in the middle of a beautiful mountain valley - is a place with stars, with peace and quiet, with a lot of animals coming through, making some noise, but not much noise. it's a place where a person could hear it, if the wild animals started talking to each other. if i have any hearing left, when i get out there.


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