June 21, 2013

The Poltergeist in My Ear Canal

Me crying on your shoulder. You with questionable facial hair.

Want to hear some of the horrible things that have gone down in the last two weeks? (Just shut up and listen as I'm moderately crabby and severely sweaty.)

I got stung by a jellyfish.
My favorite tent collapsed.
My grandpa died.
I spent 11 hours trying to get on a flight from TX to Chicago.
My father-in-law tripped and was sent to the ICU for face fractures and a bleeding brain.
I thought I got shingles.
I actually got pleurisy, which apparently does exist outside 19th century novels.
Our A/C broke and we spent $580 to fix it only to find out it's still broken.
My ear canal was haunted by a poltergeist.

So let's talk about the last one for a moment.

Some people board planes and find great delight in talking to neighboring strangers. While I yearn to feel some inkling of their excitement in being trapped talking to the same two neighbors for hours, discussing their children, their jobs, their wife's snoring habits, DANG YO, I LEFT MY KIDS IN ANOTHER STATE AND GET TO READ BY MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME IN LIKE 3827 YEARS SO SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME BE. AND I MAY EVEN LEAVE TO PEE BECAUSE I HAVEN'T DONE THAT ALONE IN THOSE 3827 YEARS EITHER.

Seat 25A on the way to Chicago did not understand this. I tried the usuals: fake sleeping, hunched book reading, putting on earphones and bobbing my head to music that didn't actually exist as my phone contains nothing but Magic Tree House and A to Z Mysteries. Yes, I fake rocked-out to every third word read aloud on Silas and Jannika's books on tape. If that doesn't smack of antisocial desperation, then you have bigger problems than I do.

Luckily I sat by an understanding lady on my flight back to Texas a few days later. She and her elderly mother were already seated by the time I boarded, so I offered them the window seat so they didn't have to get out to let me in. I was offered a shy smile, a murmured "Sure!" and then glorious silence in return.

I felt a kinship with this new friend; I felt a spirit of mutual silent-book-reading appreciation.

I also felt my cold-congestion-clogged ears painfully react to the air pressure in the cabin as we took off. And there, in the stillness of us reading, my ear spoke. Or screamed, rather. The best I can describe it is the sound of grasshopper skydiving to its death. A soft, muffled, yet curiously high-pitched,


Thank goodness it was only inside my ear. I inwardly laughed to think of what my poor neighbors would think had they been in my head. I snuggled back to read. Not thwarted by its first death, the grasshopper dove again.


For the love. My ears were so painfully pressurized at this point that all voices sounded distant and at the end of a long tunnel. I continued to attempt to read, pausing to swallow or yawn every other minute in a unsuccessful attempt to restore balance.


Concluding that my ears were decidedly more bothersome than 25A ever was, I gave up all attempts to read and started fishing for gum. Or q-tips. Or a knife.

And then my sweet neighbor leaned over to me and softly inquired, "Are you harboring a violin-playing mouse in a pocket somewhere?? I'm a little afraid to ask, but what is that noise?"

Startled that she could actually hear it, I laughed and answered, "A grasshopper skydiving to its death, actually," thinking this was a fun game. My friend, however, looked at me blankly, then weirdly, so I quickly tried to recover with a "It's my ear. It's screaming in cabin pressure pain." And she still didn't laugh. And that's when I realized she wasn't actually a kindred spirit who understood questionably witty banter, but rather a woman who was now leaning as far away as politely possible from me and my grasshopper ear that probably sounded like it was possessed with its own little screeching demon.

Things I'm glad of:
1) No animals were actually harmed or forced to play musical instruments during this incident.
2) The woman kept quiet about my questionable mental state and allowed our plane to land at its original destination.
3) Cheese. It's not really related, but I'm grateful for cheese.

Oh my word, it's been a hard two weeks. And then I wrote this, the telling of which Rob pronounced "not very funny" the first time I recounted it. But I'm done with him, the cat litter box that reeks to high heaven when our house reaches 88 degrees, and my aching ribcage.

I'm ready for next week. And I'm ready for the A/C repairman. But mostly next week. (Can anyone say VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL FOR THREE HOURS EVERY MORNING FOR BOTH KIDS?? Woot woot!)

Okay, maybe I'm more ready for the A/C repairman. (The cold beer goes without saying.)

**post note**
Okay, my sister called laughing, wondering if I really did have something in my ear. Just to clear up any ear hygiene issues, I did not. No insects. No rodents. I think it was fluid in my ears from my cold mixed with air cabin pressure that resulted in the squeaking. Hopefully that helps any gaggers right now.

Questionable facial hair image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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