As I discussed in the post CHS Syndrome, I can’t hear shit. I am partially deaf in both ears, but my right ear is useless for all but picking up background noises. One thing I forgot to mention in that post is that a direct result of my hearing impairment is a case of the mumbles.
Just this morning, I’ve mumbled twice. As I was walking through the lobby, our cleaning lady was mopping the floor. I simply said, “con permiso” (I’m sorry) because I didn’t know how to say “I’m sorry for walking through your freshly mopped floor again for like the 50th time this week and it’s only Tuesday” in Spanish. The cleaning lady and I trade languages. I speak to her in Spanish and she speaks to me in English. Neither one of us seems to have a very good grasp on the other’s language, but that’s exactly why we do it.
I seem to be prescient about floor cleaning. Wherever there is a floor being cleaned, I instinctively feel the need to walk through it at that exact moment. This happens at work daily, but it also applies to the outside world.
As I was walking through Marta’s newly clean floor again and I said I’m sorry, she replied with something I did not catch. Instead of saying “¿qué?” or “¿perdón?” or any of the things I could have said to have her repeat it, I just mumbled something like “Berm on it.”
I have no idea whether my brain had actually formed a coherent thought and my mouth tripped on it, or if my brain just threw some random letters at my mouth, and my mouth just shrugged its mouthy shoulders and went with it. Either way, mumbling “berm on it” is not going to help Marta learn English.
Then, just a minute ago, I was walking through Marta’s clean floors again and the receptionist said, “Good morning. How are you?” This is a no-brainer. We’re all asked this question multiple times a day. You don’t even have to think about it. You just say, “Fine. And you?” and that’s the end of that. But, not my brain.
When the receptionist asked me, “How are you?” I replied, “Bueno. ¿Y tu?” My brain decided to reply in Spanish, even though the receptionist is not Mexican and speaks fluent English having been born in America. Only after the words were already erroneously hanging in the air above the clean echoey floors did my brain realized what it had done. To make up for the error, the brain threw some words, the mouth shrugged its shoulders again and out came, “Murgefer.” The legs were ordered to move us away from there quickly so that the incident might be forgotten as soon as possible by everyone involved.
That last example isn’t really hearing impairment so much as plain idiocy. In that CHS post I linked above, I talked about Creative Listening Skills, where if I can’t hear something, I just make up sentences that sound like the same intonation and syllables said to me. Apparently, it also applies to words my brain makes up for its hearing deficiencies, or for generally misunderstanding the universe and its occupants. If my brain is embarrassed by its own stupidity, it will make up random sounds to cover its tracks and run away. BLARHGBYFLRR!! The person on the receiving end has to use their own Creative Listening Skills to try to figure out what the hell I meant. Godspeed to them, because I don’t even know. Berm on it, murgefer.