During a recent health check by my employer, I was given the devastating news that I have the hearing of a person ‘in her sixties’ - the devastating thing being that I’m not 60, but in fact 37. Has my hearing loss been a result of loud machinery in my workplace, the nurse asked? Sighing, I admitted ‘Noooo’, shaking my head sadly. I had to admit to her that the blame lies fairly and squarely with new wave romantic pop in the 80s, grunge rock in the 90s, and dance music in the noughtes. It was the Walkman, the Discman, the Ipod - all turned up loud, 25 odd years of musical and technological history slowly eroding my hearing. I've got to say - I'm truly lamenting the fact that I'm now too deaf to appreciate the most recent musical genius of 2012, Psy and Gangnam style. Oh, the inhumanity!
But seriously, a chill grips my heart when I think of how I'll be explaining to my daughter in twenty years time that the reason why I have to sit virtually on top of her to hear her is all because I loved to listen to Madonna's "Vogue" really loudly back in 1989 on my Sony Walkman. ‘Madonna?’ she'll ask, of the 70 year old singer, still touring. ‘That lady with all the crazy muscles?’ Indeed, I'll shake my head and wonder – was it really worth the permanent damage to my ears?
Regrets, yep I have a few. Why did I not have the foresight in the 80s to snaffle all of Grandpa's mint condition 1960s furniture? I could be sitting on a pot of gold now, negotiating inflated prices with hipsters throughout Sydney and Melbourne, desperate to pay a ridiculous sum for a formica kitchen table that you would have had to pay to have taken to the tip back in 1988. Where was the foresight??!
Well, I was probably studying too hard back then to have given it any kind of thought. And I regret that too. What was the point of all those hours studying those Arts subjects to never, ever, ever have any employer look at the actual results. I only needed one word for that CV - "PASS". Gee…all that time wasted in Sydney Uni library when I could have been partying with the St John's College guys. Hmmm, actually....scrap that thought.
But speaking of education - I regret wasting so much time in high school slagging off anything fun as totally ‘uncool’, and avoiding anything extra-curricular like the plague. Why didn't I do the school musical, the plays, the Rock Eisteddfod? Back then it was all too Mr G for this surly teen, slowly degrading her hearing with The Cure turned up loud in the ear phones, and sneering at the drama club. But what I wouldn't give now to be swapping the adult ‘thrill’ of yet another sedate dinner party, with the prospect of three weeks of rehearsals with zillions of friends, spirit fingers, sequined costumes, and themed choreography... Oh to be young again! Sadly, there is no way that there'll be a chance at a Rock Eisteddfod now at 37. I’m afraid that glittered cardboard backdrop ship has sailed...
So regrets, I have a few. And I will never have 100 per cent hearing again - I can't turn back time. But maybe I should start turning the volume down now so I can save what hearing I do have left. Because God knows I don’t want to miss out hearing with clarity what will be the latest music fad when I’m at least a spectator at my children’s future Rock Eisteddfod.