I am disabled. It sucks to have to write that out, but it’s the truth. I am hard-of-hearing (officially) and will likely be 90% deaf by the time I’m 50. Doesn’t that sound fun? <<--HAHAHA Do you see what I did there? On the one hand, it's not all that bad. There are thousands of life's tiny annoyances that don't even register with me: other people's cell phones, alarm clocks, microwave beeping, etc. I can't hear any of those things. On the other hand, I can't hear things like smoke alarms, my own cell phone ringing, the teapot whistling, or birds. I miss being able to hear birds. Having an invisible disability of this type sucks rancid hyena nuts. If it were something obvious, there would be so much less explanation happening in my life. Whenever I meet someone new or hang out with a new gang of people, there is always a quick heads-up explanation of why I have to be Creepy Staring Girl and a warning of what happens when I've had enough alcohol that I stop trying to figure out what you've actually said and start answering to what I heard. That's always a good time, but there is a streak of squirmy discomfort that underlies the whole thing. I hate it. When I'm at a restaurant, I automatically look to Freddie to "interpret" what the waiter is saying. This is especially bad in places we've never been to before or places that are very dark. It's one of the major reasons why I tend to order the same thing every time - I already know what follow-up questions the waiter is going to ask, and therefore I don't need to glance at Freddie and/or answer a completely different question than what was asked of me. That happens WAY more often than I'd like. So I order the same things, usually. It's just safer. Going out with friends can be excruciating. I always try to take a moment early on in the evening to remind people that I Cannot Hear You and I Will Stare At Your Face because I am pretty good at reading lips. I've had to acquire that particular parlor trick to hide the fact that if I can't see your face, I likely have no fucking clue what you've said. Watching TV can be problematic. I have gone off on terrible rants when the closed-captioning is fucked up and/or non-existend (Breaking Bad DVDs, I'm looking at you). I wrote a horrible screed to Netflix because for whatever reason, when you stream a movie or TV show through our Blu-Ray player, subtitles aren't available. HOW IRRITATED AM I? Through the iPad or the Wii, it's no problem. But through the Blu-Ray? Nope. Fuck off, Blu-Ray. Or Netflix. Whomever is responsible for that horrible oversight can get fucked right in the ear. If I were given three wishes, you can bet your left arm that my #1 wish would be to get my hearing back.