If you’re hearing-assisted, you’ll laugh after the first sentence.
“It’s about continuity and filling the silence between the talks.” said the organiser.
What?!!! Why does it have to happen?
Okay ‘Money, money, money’ as am talking to Federation of Small Businesses. Severe look of disapproval from teens. Okay, how about ‘March from Aida‘ , full of cymbals crashing to give the audience of taste of what it’s like with a hearing issue. I can start the talk with – ‘do your ears feel numb, are you overwhelmed by the orchestra? That’s what it’s like with a hearing issue’ and I’ll beam at them. But the organiser couldn’t find it. I’m fairly sure that was a fib.
Repeated begging for nothing at all did no good. Some cacophony started up as I approached the stage and suddenly I understood why Oscar winners are forever tripping up those dratted steps to the stage. You cannot hear yourself think, which is just as well because your brain has stopped in an effort to block the noise. With no instructions, the legs falter and suddenly you’re looking at the floor. How they end up at the podium is amazing.
Arrival was no better. Draped in wires: a neckloop for me with cute receiver smaller than a credit card, an improvement on the old rugby balls. A £2k/$3.5k wireless transmitter* grasped in nervous hand and they’re giving me a microphone.
“They won’t hear you without it. Where do you want to put this (burble, burble, … sounds like …square box)?” said the organiser urgently.
“Can you hold it?”
His face went blank, poor man. It is kind of nerve-wracking to give 5-second instructions to every speaker and hope it all works. Bad time to make a joke. It was stuck in a pocket.
“There are lots of ways small businesses can work together.”
The blank-faced man fainted gracefully away. A guy in the front row grinned and I knew that he understood. I grinned back and it was easy after that.
* Borrowed transmitter. The reason is worth a blogpost of its own.