My mom is slightly hard of hearing. She says “What?!” about eighty batrillion times a day and turns the volume on the TV up way, way too loud. She’s also constantly watching TV. So my brother, in one of his rare genius moments, bought her these headphones that enable her to hear the TV, without having the volume turned up on the television.
Life has improved drastically.
I come home, and the house is silent. There’s mom, on the couch, happily watching NCIS with her headphones. I go to bed at night and I can actually sleep! No more listening to Abby and Gibbs yammer on about some crime while I’m trying to count sheep. Our house is so peaceful.
Of course, the headphones have some drawbacks. She can hear the TV when she has them on, but she can’t hear anything else. The phone ringing, for instance. Or the dog crying because someone shut her in the basement by accident again. Or anyone speaking to her. This is mostly a problem if we happen to be watching a television show together.
Me: “Oh my god, did you see that girl? What a mess.”
Mom: *chews popcorn*
Me: “If I was on the Bachelor I would never do one of these cheesy intros.”
Me: “Hey Mom, did you tape that other show…oh, why do I bother.”
It makes watching TV with her kind of lame now. I mean before it was all “What did she say!? Rewind, I sneezed and didn’t hear it!” so at least now we can watch shows in one pass. I guess I’d rather have her sitting quietly than have my eardrums blown out by an episode of The Nanny.
The headphones also cause her to forget she’s wearing them and just go about her day in her own little world, with the headphones. She’ll put something on TV, slap on her headphones, and get things done. She’ll wander the house chuckling to herself and unable to hear any of us. It’s pretty annoying, because you don’t realize she’s “watching” TV until you try to talk to her and she completely ignores you. I couldn’t resist, and had to have a little fun with her the other day.
Me: “Mom where’s the spatula? Mom, hey…oh. You’re wearing your headphones. Can’t hear a thing I’m saying.” *thoughtful pause, smirk* “You smell funny! Those pajamas are dumb! You should stop eating so many cookies!”
Mom: “Hey! I can hear you, you know!”
Me: “Oh OF COURSE, that you heard!”
The headphones also cause her to zone out completely, typically in the middle of a task that requires attention. See, she’ll wear the headphones around the house, cleaning, cooking, whatever. Then something exciting will happen on her show, and she’ll race back to the couch to watch it, completely forgetting about what she was doing. Hence, the Burnt Toast Incident of New Year’s Eve.
Mom decided to have some toast before she went out on New Year’s Eve. Always smart to have some starch before you go out drinking. She put the toast in and wandered off to watch her show. I was getting ready in the bathroom. Our toaster SUCKS and burns everything, so you have to watch it really carefully. I just had a feeling she was going to burn her toast.
I couldn’t smell it burning, but I was getting worried so I went down the hall to check on her and her toast.
Black smoke was billowing out of the toaster oven.
“MOM! FIRE!!!” I screeched, not daring to go in the kitchen (hello, there was a fire). Mom, by some miracle, must have heard my screech, because she flew off the couch, flinging her headphones into the dog’s water dish by accident.
“Shiiiitttt!!! My toast! My headphones!” She stood in the kitchen for a moment, as if she was trying to figure out whether she should deal with the flames shooting out of the toaster oven or save her beloved headphones.
“Mom! Do something!” I shouted, frantically fanning the smoke away from me and opening windows. That seemed to snap her out of it. She bravely unplugged the toaster and put out the flaming pumpernickel. We were lucky, but my brother and I knew it was only a matter of time before the headphones situation got out of hand.
We let her keep the headphones, but she has been forbidden to wear them while cooking.