Yesterday, I took Me Too for a follow up hearing test. Apparently the school had recommended she go in for one. I won’t go into that.
The hearing test was free, which is good. Free is almost always good, except of course when there are strings attached. The string here was distance. I had to take her down to the municipal office, which is located in pretty much the most inconvenient (public transportation wise) locale in the ward where we live. (Ward is an Englishification of the Japanese word 区, which means a municipal district in a city. I don’t know if this word actually means that in English.)
We would normally take the bus, but we were supposed to be there between 10 and 10:30, and the bus only comes once an hour and arrives there at 35 minutes past the hour. If traffic is cooperative. Knowing and fearing officialdom like any good resident of Japan, I opted to take the train, even though it added twenty minutes walking time to my nearest station and from the station near the office (and thus the comment about most inconvenient locale in the ward where we live.) I was afraid arriving five minutes late would mean they wouldn’t see her, them being the gubment of course, and I sure don’t want to be rescheduled and told to come again another time.
It was HOT and Me Too is SLOW. I put her in the child seat on my bike and pedaled to the bike parking lot near(ish) the station. For some reason I can’t quite understand, this actually took longer than walking there would have. I blame the black hole in my stairwell. I guess the effect would have been magnified had we walked to the station, with constantly having to stop to rehydrate and the imminent need to duck into a combini to pee.
We got on the train, rode for four minutes, then began our treck on the other side. Like I said, it was hot. Me Too got tired and we had to stop for a drink, then stop because her sandals weren’t aligned to the will of the gods, then stop because she discovered a new freckle that needed to be thoroughly examined right then and there. In other words, she was quite the little trooper and stopped far fewer times than I figured she would.
We made it in at 10:29.
I had to fill out a form, well, because there is no way one can ever leave the municipal office without filling out a form now, is there? We waited for a few minutes, and then Me Too was called in for her hearing test.
Do you remember those tests we had when we were kids? The ones where you put on headphones and raise your hand when you hear the beep? That was what I was expecting. That is what I’d told Me Too to expect.
That isn’t what happened.
They had her put on some earphones (which looked very eighties, by the way,) played a recording at different decibels, and asked her to repeat the word.
I saw panic flash across her face. It wasn’t enough that she’d traipsed through the heat of the day and been dragged to this place of torture, what with the men with their pocket protectors and the different colored reading glasses chained to the writing tables. It wasn’t enough that she had to wear dorky headphones. Now she had to talk to a stranger.
I whispered to her quietly that if she did well, we wouldn’t have to come back. I saw her little eyebrows draw in. She took a deep breath, then sighed audibly.
And dutifully repeated a string of nonsense words.
Bravo, sweetheart, well done!
Hear Ye, Hear Ye. Oh, Ye of little faith. She hath done it, she hath done her best and passed the damnable hearing test.