I woke yesterday to discover my Tinnitus was in full swing.
Normally it's just the same old whistle at a volume I can easily tolerate but yesterday it had racked up to the top of the scale and had been joined by two tones, both in my right ear. Luckily the two tones were roughly in the same key but it was still quite a racket. On days when this happens I paradoxically like to have a very quiet day so I can enjoy my little harmonies in peace.
Then I remembered I was to do some child minding.
I arrived at the daughter's house at the appointed hour after a morning's prayer, beseeching whatever Deities that might be listening to give me a quiet couple of hours.
They obviously hadn't been listening.
Sir Fartzalott was playing a game on the television that not only had a very loud and continuous piece of irritating music but SF wasn't very good at the game and died every minute or so with a loud scream. I hasten to add that it was his character who was dying and not SF himself, as he would then proceed to yell at the screen that it wasn't fair and that he shouldn't have died there and so on. Even when he wasn't dying he gave a running commentary on his progress, and SF has a very loud voice. To add to the chaos, Puppychild spent her time yelling at SF to shut the fuck up and Squidge was on the floor yelling her head off for no reason.
To put it mildly, I wasn't going to have a quiet afternoon.
The game SF was playing basically consisted of a sort of Lego like character jumping around a three dimensional world, hopping from place to place and trying to avoid pitfalls, which SF miraculously and spectacularly failed to avoid at every occasion. Every time he died he yelled a loud "Oh noooooo!", and after a while Squidge started echoing him and she'd throw in her "Oh nooooo!" for good measure. I told him "more haste less speed". He gave me a quizzical look and asked what that meant. I told him to slow down a bit and aim his jumps a bit better. He promptly went off at a cracking speed, failed at the first jump and his little Lego character splattered himself, limbs flying in every direction accompanied by a loud scream. "You try it then" says SF, chucking the Xbox control at me.
I tried and died.
He took the control back off me with a smug smirk on his face and proceeded to carry on murdering his character again.
Eventually even his sister got tired of the constant screams, the constant music and the constant running commentary and told him to play a different fucking game [or words to that effect]. He agreed.
He chose a new game that consisted of a little Lego character jumping around a three dimensional world trying to avoid pitfalls. The only difference I could discern was that the screams were louder and the music more grating. This game seems to be more popular than the first. I realised that there were other player on line playing the same game as Lego men kept hopping past and meeting their makers in equally spectacular manner. The other players were just as bad as SF so now we had a chorus of screams as bits of bodyparts of Lego men constantly rained from above. It was a total massacre and actually quite funny if you have a devious mind.
The daughter eventually came home, took one look at my glazed and bedraggled expression and switched off the television [to a screaming chorus of disgust from Puppychild and Sir Fartzalott].
"A quiet afternoon then?" she said with a grin.
"What?" says I. The Tinnitus had now added an extra few tones in my left ear and were beating rhythmically to the sound of the now silent games music. Eventually the sounds in my head turned their volume down a bit and I was able to hold a reasonable conversation.
"Where they good?" says the daughter.
"Great" says I. "Very quiet and well behaved."
I can lie with the best of them.