sorry, I didn’t hear you

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Zone.”

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When I am reading – whether it is an academic article, a thrilling story, a Twitter feed, or a cereal box – I cannot hear what is going on around me. I could blame it on mild hearing loss (mine is approaching 30% these days*), but anyone who has known me for long will tell you I have always been this way.

When I am reading, the world around me ceases to exist. I become lost in written words, and spoken words can make no dent in my awareness. I’ve always wondered why this is. Is it because I am a visual as opposed to an auditory learner? because of an ADD hyperfocus on things that interest me? or merely because I go into a zone when I read, losing myself in the topic at hand?

When I am reading, people do all kinds of things to get my attention. My husband and child will ask me absurd questions and make me outrageous promises, then laugh when I finally come back to earth with no idea of what has been going on. Co-workers come right into my cubicle, a move which is guaranteed to startle me (and often cause me to shriek), which in turn startles them; they are sure I must have heard them coming, especially if they were talking as they approached.

When I am reading, I lose track of time. I can forget to go to sleep and then I am shocked – SHOCKED! – to find out how late it has gotten. Because I often eat when I read, I often overeat, in the same way you mindlessly put popcorn into your mouth at the movies. (And, believe me, it’s a really bad idea to mix reading with ice cream. I’m sure I can give the credit for many pounds of extra weight to having done so.)

It might seem as though reading is counterproductive for me in many, many ways.

But that’s okay, because more often than not…

When I am reading, I am happy.

* Apparently, mild hearing loss is diagnosed when you have lost 30% of your hearing. My hearing is considered “borderline normal” since I haven’t hit that 30% mark yet in certain frequencies. (D and Q take an inordinate amount of pleasure in telling me that I am borderline normal.)

Open Book” by Reeding Lessons / CC BY

somebody

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worldly Encounters.”

Today, the Irish people voted on marriage equality, on an amendment to their constitution that would add the following language: Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.

I’ve been hearing about it from my young Irish friends for months now on social media; they are all in the “Vote YES” camp and have been feeling frustrated by those who are pushing for a NO vote. These young women – and the young women around me on a daily basis – have no problem whatsoever with the idea of marriage equality. To them, what is important in a marriage is the person you love, not their gender or their sex – or yours.

Apparently, many young Irish people agree with them. I’ve been impressed and moved by those who are tweeting #hometovote on Twitter today as they travel from all over the world to return to Ireland to cast their vote. Though voting by mail is the rule here in Oregon – and, I am sure, would have helped many of those expat Irish voters save precious time and money – going to the polls in person has a special significance. It is, quite literally, a way to stand up and be counted.

Yes EqualityAnd what do these people who want marriage equality really want? I would explain – to an alien who had no idea what makes someone human – that they want love and commitment, and the rights that the word “marriage” gives to those who make that commitment in our society. If the concepts were still unclear, perhaps I’d play this old Depeche Mode song:

I want somebody to share / share the rest of my life
share my innermost thoughts / know my intimate details
someone who’ll stand by my side / and give me support
and in return / she’ll get my support
she will listen to me / when I want to speak
about the world we live in / and life in general
though my views may be wrong / they may even be perverted
she’ll hear me out / and won’t easily be converted
to my way of thinking  / in fact she’ll often disagree
but at the end of it all / she will understand me

I want somebody who cares / for me passionately
with every thought and / with every breath
someone who’ll help me see things / in a different light
all the things I detest / I will almost like
I don’t want to be tied / to anyone’s strings
I’m carefully trying to steer clear of / those things
but when I’m asleep / I want somebody
who will put their arms around me / and kiss me tenderly
though things like this / make me sick
in a case like this / I’ll get away with it

As I write this post, the polls in Ireland have closed, but the results have not yet been tabulated. I don’t know if the first country to put the idea of marriage equality to the popular vote will have seen that referendum pass. I am heartened, however, by the young people of that country and of my own, and I believe that we will soon live in a world where people are free to marry somebody they love.

(Want to listen to the song? It’s gorgeous. Alan Wilder’s piano playing is so perfect.)

Future Tense

Bradbury

Quinland is in another SouthWest StageWorks production this month, a set of three short plays by Ray Bradbury called Future Tense. Q is in the ensemble of the first two plays (The Veldt and Kaleidoscope) and plays the Young Child in the third play, To the Chicago Abyss.

David and I went to the matinee showing on Mother’s Day. I had no idea what to expect, other than that if it’s Ray Bradbury, it must be science fiction. I don’t want to give any of the plots away, but I will say that the show is pretty intense. I highly recommend seeing it, but it’s not suitable for small children.

Besides beaming with pride at how well Q did in his role, I really enjoyed Sofia as Wendy in The Veldt, Tristan as Applegate in Kaleidoscope, and Luke as the Old Man in To the Chicago Abyss. So much so, in fact, that I’m going to go at least once more this week (or maybe twice)! Besides, the seating is in the round, so I’ll get a chance to see it from a couple of different angles.

Future Tense continues this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (5/14/15 through 5/16/15) at Wilson High School. Seating is limited; tickets are available online. (Click here for tickets.)