Party Tricks for the Hearing Impaired

This entry on deaf-in-one-ear-ness is dedicated to someone I really, really like!

Some people dance on tables or perform crystal glass symphonies or guess astrological signs. I plug in my new alarm clock and set it for a minute ahead, and then the whole room waits the fifty-nine seconds it takes for the show to start.

The star performer is my new Wake’n’SHAKE alarm clock. Features include: large red display (bright, but miraculously not so ‘glowy’ that it illuminates the whole room and keeps me awake), volume and tone control for the beeping sound, a flashing strobe light and a vibrating attachment that goes under a pillow or mattress to shake you awake. All together, it puts on quite a display.

The archetype of a twenty-first birthday present might be alcohol, novelty barware, designer leather goods, lavish jewels or scandalous gag gifts. Something a little bit sinful. I don’t know what most twenty-two year olds get, but the twenty-second birthday doesn’t feel quite as naughty as the twenty-first.

I don’t know if it’s so un-naughty that the leap is made from sinful to senile, but let me just say that my mom could have ordered my birthday present from a geriatric website, one that also sells wheelchairs and ear trumpets (okay, she really got it with a Costco discount, but it could have been a geriatric store.)

I demonstrated my alarm clock tricks at my tea party on Tuesday to an audience of hysterical friends as if it was a flashy gadget or toy, but it has already changed my life for the better. I had been losing a lot of sleep, lying awake at night and trying not to let myself roll on to my right side (and my good ear), worrying not about if I would wake up, but when I would wake up if I didn’t hear my alarm. I have slept through or nearly slept through enough classes, appointments, early morning meetings, and even a midterm to need to try something new.

At first, I resisted switching to this fancy device because I didn’t want the shaking to give me a heart attack every morning. It is sort of startling, but it’s worth it to wake up feeling like I’ve actually been asleep. In fact, I don’t even have to turn the sound on because the vibrations are so powerful. Actually, that does sound a little naughty.

Maybe I’ll ask for a walker next year.