Su Lum: Slumming
November 23, 2011
Almost two weeks ago I lost one of my hearing aids. Again.
The last time I absolutely knew it was in the house somewhere and tore the place apart up, down and sideways. What I didn’t know was that the hearing aid had fallen into an open box of books on tape (now CD) and, while I was ravaging the house, it was in a bag in my car awaiting its return to the library. Imagine the librarian’s and my surprise when she opened the box to count the CDs and there sat the hearing aid.
But this time I had no idea where I might have lost it. I had been to work at The Aspen Times, had stopped by the Miner’s Building to pick up an ad, and had (again) visited the library.
Due to circumstances too complicated to go into, I can no longer use my bi-focals, so I have been carrying my reading glasses in my pocket. What with the hearing aids, the oxygen cannula and the glasses, my ears are pretty much loaded in, down and over with hardware, and it was my suspicion that, when I had removed my regular glasses to put on my reading glasses so I could read the titles, I had flipped the errant hearing aid onto the floor or a shelf of the library.
No luck, however. I called the library and a sweet woman named Andrea mounted a search and called back to say she had swept the whole CD quadrant of the building as well as the parking area but had found nothing.
I should say here that these hearing aids are teeny tiny. They resemble and are just about as visible as a small daddy longlegs. I noticed that the right one was missing as soon as I got home and was sure it hadn’t gotten into the house with me. Still, the house was searched by me, my renter, the house cleaner and my friend Hilary – who also retraced my steps – and hunted for by the staff at the paper, the Miner’s Building and the library, to no avail.
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I went down those stairs (knees creaking) to the police department, and the receptionist and I shuffled through about 50 pounds of lost keys. A notice on the wall said I could rent an armed cop for $95 an hour-information to tuck away for the future.
I posted a reward.
Usually I take the Bo Peep, “Leave them alone and they will come home” approach, but this time I was certain the hearing aid was a goner.
Off to my audiologist, Terry Burke, a dear man who hated to tell me that, since I had opted against insurance, a replacement would cost $3,500. That was last Thursday.
On Sunday my renter, his visiting friend Paula and I had just finished dinner; I had repaired to my bedroom when I saw Paula coming toward me holding out one hand. What? In her fingers dangled the hearing aid.
Gratitude soon replaced the total shock of seeing the object that I had given up for dead. The hearing aid! Back! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!
It turned out that it had been in one of the kitchen chairs all the time, a chair that many people had sat upon in the interim of loss but felt only by Paula, now known as the Princess and the Pea from the old fairy tale which identified the heroine as a genuine princess because she could feel a pea underneath hundreds of mattresses. Paula won the reward.
The hearing aid was none the worse for wear and tear in the chair. I popped new batteries in both of the devices and sound came roaring in like high tide.