A few weeks ago I started singing lessons with a woman who teaches from her home in Croydon. The first lesson was pretty chilled, it was basically just an opportunity to meet Rachel, talk about what kind of style I want to do and give her an example of my current range, limitations, weaknesses and strengths. It was really good and we basically spent an hour chatting about music, randomly singing and going through various voice exercises I could do to improve my vocal range and how I use my voice. We got along really well and I was already sold on the idea of her being my singing teacher…but then I noticed she was wearing two hearing aids. It is kind of hard to describe how I felt when I realised this. As almost anyone who reads my blog would know I am completely deaf in one ear and have lost about 15% hearing in my other one, the ‘good ear’. Anyway, for a long time I’ve thought that this would affect my pitch and ability to sing in key and I distinctly remember a few instances in my piano classes when I was younger of my teacher basically yelling ‘no’ at me because I couldn’t hit a note properly to coincide with whatever note she was playing..I remember mum excusing my mistakes with the fact that I was deaf and for years I just assumed/ fearfully believed that my loss of hearing had seriously screwed my ability to sing. Years later I realised that I was hitting the right notes but that my teacher, who was somewhere between 70 and 80 was way more deaf than me and consequently thought I was completely shit at playing the piano. I don’t know who I feel worse for – my lovely piano teacher, Mrs. Bryant who used to make me ice cream sandwiches in summer, for having to put up with what she thought was absolutely horrible piano playing or myself, for believing I was musically doomed for more than half of my life.
Upon realising that Rachel was wearing hearing aids I experienced what I could only describe as a wave of relief and excitement. I almost shyly pointed out the fact that she had hearing aids and then excitedly exclaimed ‘I’m deaf too!’. We then spent a decent half an hour talking about hearing aids, comparing models, being horrified at the price of one hearing aid (budget aids are around $1500, a half decent one usually costs about $3000) and describing the first moment we ever wore hearing aids and all the stuff we could hear that we didn’t necessarily want to, such as people scratching themselves, scrunching paper or chewing.
So I’m two lessons in now and so far so good! I’ve really noticed the difference it makes to how I sing and I now take time out to rest my voice and avoid things that will strain it, like going to gigs two nights in a row and screaming like a banshee…
Later that week I headed into the city to catch up with friends and discuss an event we are helping out with in March. I happened to be wearing a white singlet and it happened to be on that day a few weeks ago where Melbourne experienced torrential rain. I didn’t even attempt to stay dry and ended up walking in the rain to avoid the crowds surging down Swanston street, filling every space that offered even the slightest chance of cover. I arrived at the meeting completely soaked and spent the majority of time trying to focus on conversation and not the rivulets of water running down my back. After the meeting Isabel and I bought a massive vanilla cannoli and stood in the rain waiting for the tram. We decided to walk a few blocks instead of waiting in a spot that was so exposed to the elements that we had water dripping down our noses as we ate cannoli. As we were walking down the street, stuffing our faces with cannoli in almost vertical rain Isabel mentioned that I have the craziest things happen to me and that I seem to meet really weird people all the time. I remember laughing and saying it basically hadn’t happened since I’d returned from the US, but if it did I’d let her know when it did… well fast forward a few hours and I was sitting on the train opposite a woman flailing her arms about and yelling ‘OH MY GOD, CONNECTION! CONNECTION! WE SHOULD BE FRIENDS, can we be friends?’. I really wish I was exaggerating, but somewhere out there is a woman named Mez who now has my e-mail address and plans to send me what she described as something that is ‘kind of like a resume, but it’s just about me, you know, but it’s got all of my details…like a resume’. I seriously can’t wait.
After meeting Mez I knew I had to write a blog, it was a ridiculous situation and one that I seem to find myself in often. I figured it would be the most random thing to happen to me for a while, I mean how many random things can happen to one person in the space of two weeks? Apparently a lot of things.
Last Monday I stayed at Justine’s house and woke up pretty early to take a friend to the airport. Adelle and I jumped in the car and had an uneventful trip to Tullamarine airport. I stopped out the front of the international departure lounge, gave her big hugs and was on my merry way. On the way back from the airport things got a little strange. I was driving back to Justine’s house again so that I could get changed and ready for work. I stopped at a red light and as it turned green I looked in my rear vision mirror and saw a car come around the corner flying toward me. Car accidents are strange, for some parts of it you remember each second, you even remember the sound of your breath, it’s as if everything slows down and for other parts you can’t remember anything, it seems to all happen quickly and you probably wouldn’t even know your own name in that moment. So as the car careened toward me I looked in front, realised I couldn’t quickly escape the accident by accelerating forward because the car in front was quite slow, placed both hands upon the steering wheel, pushed my body back, made my arms straight and waited for impact. The guy smashed into the back of the car hard and it lurched forward but thankfully didn’t go out into the intersection. I uttered a few swear words, eye balled him in my rear-vision mirror and got out of the car.
I almost feel like I should just copy and paste the police report at this point but I don’t know if that is even legal so I’ll just continue to blah blah.
I walked to the back of the car, looked at it, sucked my breath in and thought of how crazy my dad was going to go when he got the call that someone had smashed into his car. I stood there staring at the damage and waiting for the guy to get out of his car. He waved his hands as if he was saying ‘it’s okay’ and I just beckoned mine. For a few moments I honestly thought he was going to drive off so I quickly made a mental note of his number plate. He eventually got out of the car and walked toward me ‘Helloooo’, he said. ‘Hi’ I replied. I then pointed out the obvious that he’d smashed into my car and said that I wouldn’t usually make a big deal of it but it was my parents car and they’d want it fixed. He immediately said ‘well I’m a mechanic so I can fix it!’ I told him I wanted to go through the proper channels and he shrugged and said ‘I can give you money for it here and now, how much? Maybe $200’. I was a little surprised and wasn’t sure whether he was stupid or he thought I was but as I ran my hand along the damage and said again ‘no, I want to go through the proper channels’, I knew that this guy was in for at least $800 + in repair costs and $200 wouldn’t even cover the cost of a paint job let alone a whole new back panel.
I got out a piece of paper and told him that I’d get his details and the insurance companies would figure it out, he wrote down his name and number and then started to rattle on about how he hadn’t been in Australia for very long. ‘It’s actually a rental car’, he said. I explained that this could potentially be a good thing because they would have insurance and then asked what company he had loaned it from. ‘oh’, he said, ‘it’s actually a work car’….right….he continued to talk, ‘you know, I’ve actually been out all night, I think I’m a little drunk’. It was then that I realised he did in fact smell like booze and his eyes seemed a little unclear. I suggested that he take time out, have some water and spend thirty minutes parked by the side of the road. ‘Yeah, I’ll do that’ he said and then it happened, then he asked me out for breakfast. I was a little surprised and felt kind of trapped, I instantly replied that I had to go to work and that it was out of the question, ‘how about dinner?’ He became pretty persistent, and asked me out several more times, commenting on my looks, heritage and the fact that he thought I had a ‘nice rig’. It was a hilarious situation and one I was a little desperate to escape. I told him I’d be in touch regarding insurance and he told me he’d be in touch point blanc. Before I left he leaned in close and said ‘you know, I’m kind of sorry I hit your car, but I’m also not because I got to meet you’. To which I replied, ‘You’ve hit my car, I think I’m being pretty nice right now, don’t push me’. I jumped in my car and he leaned against his. As I waited for the traffic lights to change he just stared at me and as I drove off he slung his arm through his car window and tooted me. What…the…hell.
To cut a long story short, I arrived back at Justine’s and realised I had forgotten some crucial details. I called the guy and asked him for them to which he replied that he’d left his licence at home and would text me his details. I was pretty suspicious at this point and knew that he had every intention of ripping me off…but then he made the mistake of telling me his car had actually stopped working as a result of the accident and he was exactly where I’d left him. ‘Oh’ I said empathetically. He asked if I could give him the details of a tow-truck driver and I said I didn’t know any. I quickly cut the conversation short and called the police, told them that I’d had an accident and the man had been drinking and he was exactly where I’d left him.
Thirty minutes later the police called me back and told me they had the guy. He’d given me a fake name and his licence was expired. The car he was driving was a rental in someone else’s name and he was refusing to do a breath test.
Fast forward a week and I’ve since found out that the guy will be charged with reckless driving, driving with an expired licence, not cooperating with the police (he tried to run), providing false details, refusing to do a breath test and there are some serious implications for driving a hire car that is not in your name …..and crashing it…. into someone else’s car….
What a crazy few weeks!