May I ask who’s calling?
Hello? Who is it?
There must be someone calling because I hear ringing.
Oh, wait. The call is coming from inside my ears. Although, do people’s ears really “ring?” That’s not what I have going on. It’s more like a cross between cicadas and a hearing test.
A steady, almost constant whine.
How long has this been going on? Months? WHO CARES? IT’S DRIVING ME NUTS. STOP IT! STOP MAKING THAT NOISE! JUST STOP IT, RIGHT NOW!
No, really, I’m doing okay. But I guess exposure to loud music has caught up with me. Tinnitus, they call it. This sound. It sounds like an old person problem.
(At least my eyesight is still good. When I look in the mirror, I’m as attractive as ever. Maybe more so.)
Or is it something else? This strange noise. Perhaps aliens implanted something in my brain and they’re trying to drive me crazy. Or maybe it’s the usual experiments they’re running, but their instruments are malfunctioning and only inadvertently causing me mild distress.
There is cause for concern, certainly, especially if it turns out to be aliens — again — but I often forget it’s going on. It hasn’t yet driven me insane, even when I notice it as I lie down to sleep at night. Maybe this is where my low auditory standards come in handy. I’m used to dealing with subpar sound reproduction from my electronic devices.
Or maybe it’s you, God? Trying to send me a message? Even though I’m not sure how much I believe in you anymore.
I’m surprised it doesn’t bother me more, these personal cicadas.
Wikipedia says, “The condition is often rated clinically on a simple scale from ‘slight’ to ‘catastrophic’ according to the practical difficulties it imposes, such as interference with sleep, quiet activities, and normal daily activities.”
I must be on the slight side of the scale, thank god. I’ll report back if I start edging over the cliff into “catastrophic,” but there are gradations in between the two ends that I’ve already glimpsed:
My wife and I were out in the country earlier this year, in a room with the window open, and she commented about the crickets. I couldn’t hear them. That was freaky. Were my cicadas coming in on just the right frequency to drown out the crickets? I was saddened at the idea of not being able to hear crickets. To lose that part of nature. What a bummer.
Or, maybe she was working with the aliens to drive me crazy, and was only pretending to hear them? But eventually I discovered if I turned my head a certain way and got closer to the window, I could hear the crickets. Phew!
(Crickets should come with a volume knob, so you can turn them up to enjoy them for a bit, and then turn them down when they get too rowdy. They clearly need some kind of amplification. There’s no reason the cicadas should get an unfair advantage.)
So, no problem, really. Not yet. Still quite sane. So far.