Much to my chagrin, fate would have its way this week after I told myself, “I have never gotten sick during the summer.” Like welcoming in a thief with an unlocked door, sickness crawled in and called my throat, and ears, home. My voice is a recovering alcoholic, my senses are a drugged-out mess and my earache is a sick trip down a rocky road. I’ve always been amazed at how the body reacts to any form of illness, whether it be dizziness, nausea, or even a small headache, but the one thing I completely forget about was how bizarre hearing out of only one ear is.
In a sense, at least.
Working in a newsroom is a chaotic, rough ride; police scanners and dark humor are present more than any one silence will ever show up. When you’re in the same state of mind as I’ve been in as of lately, all the things you’ve become desensitized to – the roughness of the world, disasters, ‘bad’ news, etc. – continue its job even more prominately. For the first two hours of work today, something just felt off about the vibe of the newsroom, but I couldn’t decide what it was.
Thursday’s are usually slow news days, but it wasn’t that.
The Ferguson events have mostly concluded for the week, but it wasn’t that.
Our staff was back to what it usually is for a weekday, but again, it wasn’t that either.
No, it wasn’t the ambience of the newsroom, the amount of people behind computers, nor the feeling of wanting time to hurry and hit 10:30 P.M. With the magic of one hard yawn, my left ear popped a little, filling my canal with everything I didn’t want to hear again: police scanners.
“Duh,” I told myself, “I wasn’t hearing the scanners.”
I felt so silly and happy at the same time. To say police scanners are the bane of my existence would be the understatement of the year. The amount of times one department blasts their call at full blast and muddled words is too much to count, and frankly, I am not convinced these calls are made until they hear us getting a phone call on the news desk. It’s unreal, but it is important.
And it’s just another part of my day, and now my life, that I took for granted. Not being able to hear them for a solid two hours was like a part of my soul feeling empty and confused. Regardless or not if I wanted it, my daily schedule is now to hear the amount of wrecks, fatalities, homicides, injuries, assaults, robberies and drownings going on all around you and I. I wish I could tell you that I give most of these cases a second thought, but once you’re in it and dwell in it – even as a lowly assistant like me – hearing about the awfulness of the world puts things into perspective — but only for a second.
That second is what hits me the hardest, especially dealing with suicides. To think that, somewhere out there, one person felt so alone and so drawn to ending their life, all while the rest of us are with others, in company of family, friends, co-workers or total strangers, is almost too much to genuinely grasp. While the rest of the world is spinning as it should, their song is coming to an end with their own mind assisting. It’s very, very sad and those are the cases and stories that will always make me think twice, even if for a second.
Despite the chaotic scene this world has seen since the first day of creation, there’s one recurring theme that keeps coming back to me.
The world is a quite place.
Maybe not now, maybe not in the past month, but those few moments in bed before waking up in the morning are quiet. The streets sitting in the shade of streetlights at 3 A.M. are quiet, and lonely. The hum of an empty building waiting for its tenants to come back and visit for the day is quiet, and hopeful. There’s always a desire for people to fill into buildings, into places and into destinations, because even though our world is a chaotic mess when folded out like a blanket, there are always the solemn moments of reflection, of love, of lust and of desire. And it’s in those moments that everything we have become so greatly desensitized to come shining right back in our ears, filling us in on all we’ve missed.