Anachan's Corner

One woman's journey through marriage, motherhood, and the classroom…

The Sound of Silence

Written By: Anachan - Feb• 21•17

No, this isn’t about the Simon and Garfunkle song, although I really liked that song in college and even had the sheet music, long since lost in one move or other. This is about sound . . . and silence.

Almost two years ago, my eldest daughter, serving in the U. S. Navy, had a headache and went to the doctor on base, who prescribed for her a course of Naproxen. She took it in accordance with the directions given her and, three days later, found herself completely deaf. Tests since then appear to show that her ears are in perfect working order, and signals are being sent to her brain. But there, the link is broken: The brain is not interpreting the signals as sound.

She has had to learn to live surrounded by silence. Because this happened when she was 20 years old, she has muscle memory for speech and so can talk with people. Because she learned something about lip reading while working on stage productions in college, she picked up further skills quickly. But she hears no music or birds chirping or even fire alarms. (Yes, that happened once in her dorm: A fire happened on an upstairs floor, and she slept through the entire alarm.)

There is the chance that, given the fact the problem is a chemical one in the brain, her brain will self-correct, and her hearing will be restored. But as time goes on, the chances of that happening become more and more slim.

When I think of that, my complaint seems petty and trivial. For the past four months, I have lived my world with no silence. One day, I realized I heard ringing in my ears–rather loud ringing in my ears–and since then, it has never stopped. Some days, it is louder, and some days, it is not as loud. Some days, there is enough noise around me that I do not notice it much. But in those moments I have always treasured, the moments of quiet peace, when I would try to look deep inside and ponder or create, read or study, there it is, intruding. And I can’t help but listen to it and wonder and worry, just a little.

I’ve been told that there isn’t much┬áthat people can do about this kind of condition. Perhaps it, like my crevassed tongue which denies me comfortable access to the spicy foods I loved for years, is just another inconvenience I will have to learn to live with.

After all, it could be worse. I can still hear voices speaking to me. I can hear birds chirp or caw, and I can hear the various calls of the cats as they express disapproval, contentment, or pride in themselves. And I can still listen to music, even if the purity of that music is tainted by a constant tone which may be off key.

Given the choice of living with constant intruding sound or constant silence, I realize it is preferable to put up with the sound. But sometimes, I would like to experience a few moments of silence, for old times’ sake.

Voting My Conscience

Written By: Anachan - Nov• 09•16

Well, the decision night is over . . . and what a dilemma for everyone! I remember many of my students coming to school before the election and expressing the opinion that neither of the candidates was good, so it was going to be a poor result, no matter what happened. (Most likely the opinions of their parents, and one I happen to share.)

I knew New Mexico would go Democrat, so I felt free to vote my conscience. (i.e., Hillary didn’t need my vote if I wanted to give it to her, and voting for Trump “to try to stop Hillary” would be a wasted vote, because it wouldn’t work, anyway. So I voted for McMullin, who was someone I felt I could actually vote “for,” rather than casting my vote “against” someone else.) It was the only way I could really feel comfortable with my ballot. I did my part, and the rest was up to the rest of the country.

Honestly, at this point, I’m more focused on my local government. I’m glad that our county treasurer held on to his seat, because he was doing a good job. I’m glad that my representative maintained his seat–He’s a Republican in a Democrat state, so it’s something–because he really does a good job, and even the Democrats here know that.

I have confidence that even though the Republicans got a majority in both houses (by a tiny margin), Congress will work to block most things that Trump does. (Unlike how it might have been with Hillary . . .) One of the best things about our Constitution is that it is designed to make change difficult. Generally speaking, I do not think large changes are good for a country. (Witness Obamacare, which seemed like a good idea at the time to many people, but has been proving not nearly as good for the majority of Americans.) In other words, if the government gets little to nothing done, it is usually better than the government getting a lot done. And I think that will happen with a President Trump. (So I think Democrat voters can take heart . . . the country might not be progressing in the ways they want, but at least it will most likely be marking time . . .)

The one thing which really surprised me was that I didn’t realize how much difference it would make in my own self-respect and happiness to know I had made a choice with which I was really comfortable. Instead of feeling dirty and wanting to hide in a corner, which is how I would have felt if I’d cast a vote for either Hillary or Trump, it’s nice to be able to look myself in the eye.