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You are imperfect, permanently, and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful. (Amy Bloom)

After nine years my hearing aids gave out. The parts are no longer made, something like finding a replacement carburetor for a 1948 Chevy at the corner auto repair shop.  New hearing aids cost as much as a private jet and I have put off the purchase a tad too long. Of course I have joked that what I hear can be a lot more interesting than what someone actually said. Sometimes what I catch makes no sense at all. At other times it is best-not-repeated in a PG-oriented setting.

My new set is nothing like my old pair. Unfortunately, the left side of my mouth just happens to be bleeding from an archeological dig made to fit a replacement crown and my neighboring audio canal is responding with intense sympathy. The ear doesn’t want to be bothered with a microphone and wire. The right side decides to play ally and balk against foreign materials as well.

Fortunately my audiologist knows some tricks. She suggests a gel as well as a wiggling motion to get the gosh-darned-thing into place. She says that everyone has different ear canal shapes. I’m amazed. I know mine are slender, unlike the rest of me. (I don’t need two airplane seats, but I’m not a model’s size either.) While I’m not comfortable I hold onto the hope that tension and repeated in-and-out-of-foreign-objects-into-my-ears is making this situation difficult.

Now, days later, I stand in my living room at six in the morning and listen to the birds, singing in stereo outside the front and side windows. I revel in the fact that I hear, and that I can adjust the level of that sound—although I’m a bit clumsy with the buttons. The house grows silent and I suddenly wonder if my sound-wonder tools have fallen out. No. I hear a slight rustling as my finger touches the surface. This is a good sign.

I’m a bit clumsy with anything new. I claim both imperfection and permanent flaws. The journey would be downright boring if I already knew everything.

In this picture my hearing aids suggest the beginning of a fantasy song—in the key of C, adjustable, flowing, imperfect maybe, but full of possibilities.

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