Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earplugs: Stop the Noise

The noise is clamorous. I can't tell one from the other. Voices, cars, animals, rain, they all sound the same when it gets loud. They overlap and assault me. Individually I might be able to fend them off, but all together? I don't have a chance. I can't escape so I scramble through my purse for the only protection I have. My fingertips graze the soft foam and I grab too quickly, come up with a handful of nonsense in addition to my only savior. As I sift out my keys and a chapstick and start rolling the plugs into an ear canal shape, I start to feel the panic and am afraid of how bad it can get. I stuff one in each ear and just as I think I can't take the noise any longer, that I'll cry or scream or lose my mind completely, the earplugs expand. Quickly, but much too slowly, they fill my ears and stop all sound for a second or two. I exhale. A moment later I can still hear, but like a faraway echo. The noise is no longer a threat and I can breathe again.