Oo-De Lally, July 25, 2014
I have so much to say about the past two weeks. Drafts have been written and edited, but sometimes I gravitate towards writing about what’s happening right now, as in today. As in this morning.
I envy morning people. I envy their work-outs, breakfasts, sunrises, leisurely commutes and packed lunches. I’m obviously not a morning person, and when my alarm went off today at 5 am I groaned. Already, I knew that a bad day was looming.
I thought my Friday would run as thus – wake up late, rush out the door, attend my 7:30 am doctor’s appointment late, get to work late. I would sweat and stress on stalled trains, dodge people on the sidewalks. There would be no good to come from a morning that began at 5 am.
To my surprised, I dressed quickly, out to door on time, and landed in Times Square an hour early for the doctor’s appointment. With time to kill I got off the train at 6:30 am and relished in the delight of empty Times Square.
Coincidentally, last weekend I told a friend I was still in the “honeymoon” phase of my New York Life.
“I go on these masochist walks through Times Square,” I said. I left out the part about my weekly walks down Fifth Avenue from 42nd Street to 59th, like a crazy person. But we both agreed: yes, Times Square is great when it’s empty, but it’s hardly ever empty.
I crossed by a few of my favorite shops, the windows dark and the grating down. I strolled past a movie being filmed, and the crew members partaking in their catered breakfasts. I passed by actors sitting on the street waiting for stage doors to open. I got a coffee and really, really, wished I were more of a morning person so that I could have more private moments with New York.
At the doctor’s office I shook hands with my ENT, a tall, Indian man with lots of long, wispy, hair.
“You’re a morning person like me!” he exclaimed.
“No, I just don’t want to take off work,” I laughed.
“And where is work?” he asked. He began to peer into my ears. I told him the magazine where I worked.
“Of course!” he exclaimed. “I don’t think we carry that one in the lobby though.”
“I noticed,” I said with a smirk.
I was at the ENT because I can barely hear out of my right ear, off and on for the past six months. After taking a peek, the doctor took a step back, and gave me a “don’t be alarmed” face.
“Well,” he said, “I don’t see any wax, which I was hoping I would. So now, we’ll have to do a hearing test to make sure you don’t have any hearing loss.”
An invisible weight bore on my chest.
I was escorted to another room. A nurse put a few monitors on my ears. While I waited a panic overtook me. Music is one of my joys. I used to play violin, I play music at the house obsessively, I listen on a schedule. Prokofiev on Sundays, Tchaikovsky on Tuesdays. And dancing! How can one dance without music?
I had to ask myself the question: what do I do if I do lose my hearing?
The answer came to me instantly. I would set up a schedule; I would listen to everything before my hearing went away. I’d go see “Turandot” at least 12 more times, go to Russia to hear Gergiev do anything Tchaikovsky (he has a way of making Tchaikovsky come alive in a way no other conductor can). I would need to go to as many live concerts as possible. I’d find a violin teacher, just for the three months or however long my doctor thinks I can last.
I would need to tighten my listening schedule. I’d need to stack conductors by days. I would do Mahler till I got sick of Mahler. I’d do Philip Glass before sleep. Nico Muhly in the mornings and sunsets. Bach in the in between. Beethoven during commutes.
And what about those other sounds? Like my families laughter, which is my most favorite sound? Or the sound of the bell toll? The buttery seduction of a British accent? And French! Don’t get me started on French, my favorite language. So many French words are my favorite, I would like die if I couldn’t hear it ever again, especially since I have so far to go before mastering it myself.
I was about to burst into tears by the time the test finished. The doctor open the examination room door, with good news.
“Hearing is fine…for now,” he said. I was given a prescription, and a follow up visit. I’m crossing my fingers that my hearing only improves.
Such good news was enough to make me smile through the day. I had an hour after my appointment before I was due at work, so I walked to Bryant Park. It was then only 8:15 am, I sat on one of the green tables and breathed in.
I, Ariel Davis, have two ears, two eyes, a mouth and a nose. I have legs and feet that haven’t given me much trouble, and that can, on occasion make me dance favorably (in my opinion). Sometimes, I get to see the sun. I realized that I really do not need much but those things. After a scare like there was today I felt quite rejuvenated. And frankly, quite put in my place. For a while, I can stop whining about how much I need the Wölffer Estate rosé before summer ends, how much I need the white dress in the window, how much I need macaroons, a Negroni, a new rug, another silly button-down silk shirt, or a what have you.
At the park I read at my leisure, and when it was time to walk back to my office I did a little dance, I took my hand and playfully kicked up the hem of my dress. I sang “Oo-De Lally” from Disney’s “Robin Hood”. Midtown was starting to rub its sleepy eyes. The streets became more populated. Rush hour was upon us, but I paid no never-mind.