I was trying Limerick’s new mosquito mesh fly gear on her last night (a purchase of belly band extenders is warranted, and the boots will be returned in exchange for a larger size) when I saw the husband of a new boarder petting his wife’s horse in a dark stall.
I flicked on the light switch for that horse’s stall. “Here’s the switch for the light,” I said.
“The light switch—it’s here if you want it,” I said.
Abruptly finding myself on the other side of the glass, I realized he was hard of hearing and repeated myself a third time.
He thanked me and I returned to Limerick. A few moments later he asked me what the mosquito mesh was for. I told him that Lim hates mosquitoes and that they couldn’t penetrate the fabric, which I held up to show him. He apologized for not hearing me the first time and pointed to the tiny hearing aids in his ears. I smiled and laughed and said, “It’s okay, I can’t hear well, either!” and pointed to the digital hearing aid in my left ear.
He said he began losing his hearing as a young man and needed to get the hearing aids at age 45, and now he was 70. He asked me when I began to lose my hearing and I told him I had meningitis when I was very little.
Our words and curious looks danced around one another. It was fascinating to have this sort of discussion, and I could tell he felt the same way.
We talked about Limerick a little bit, and when his wife returned from returning some grooming supplies to the tack room, he relayed a summary of our discussion to her. With that, goodbyes were said.
This man and I could not have been more different, yet we found common ground in our deafness. Although I already knew this, our encounter was a reminder that being open-minded can take you on the most interesting excursions.