My Place. Friday. 7pm.
I don’ t hear voices in my head. No. The sound I hear is not articulate. There are no syllables or syntax. There is no undulation in cadence, no sign of emotional content. I hear a sound that is constant, unenounced and indescribable. Indescribable because it comes from my brain, not from the external world.
I wish I did hear voices. Then I could take notes and be like a prophet. People might ask me how I know these words to be true. And I could say, ‘God told me. So there. Disagree and you’re denying God. And give me money.’
Unfortunately, I hear an unprophetic and unprofitable sound, not voices. I hear it all the time. It never stops. It could drive a person insane. But I’m not a person who holds the notion of sanity in high regard. Climate change, Iraq invasions and leafblowers are the product of so-called sane minds. I’m not being pushed to insanity by the cacophony in my head, but it does unnerve me at times. Times like now.
The noise started a few months ago when I was in New Caledonia. One morning I woke up and thought, ‘Strange bird. Or is it an emergency siren indicating imminent tsunami? Or is breakfast ready?’
No. None of the above.
I don’t want to be dramatic, but this week, the screeching in my head has been particularly disturbing. And now, alone, with bugger all left in the wine bottle, I’m letting you into my noisy world.
New vinyl of Aretha Franklin’s earliest recordings (in ’61) cannot blanket the tinnitus. The wine cannot drown it. A heavy shower on the shack’s tin roof is quite soothing, but is lessening.
As soon as I returned from New Caledonia I went to a doctor. The doctor said, ‘Blah blah blah. Nothing you or I can do about it. Get used to it. Do you need Valium?’
So, I left the clinic with hopes dashed and a dope stash. Jeez. Doctors can transplant a man’s face for heaven’s sake. They can create a vagina from your penis. But with tinnitus I just have to ‘get used to it’? No way.
I’m an alternative sort of bloke. I have lived in a teepee. Once I drank soy milk with my coffee. (I was young.) I have walked from Cairns to Cooktown with a dulcimer and a sprout jar of mung beans. I have cured conjuctivitus with elderflower, nits with sassafras, anxiety with sex and a work ethic with marijuana. I will not be told to just ‘get used to it’.
So I delved into allternative theories. A Nimbin mate told me it was caused by chemtrails. A Lismore girl said it was fluoride. A Byron bloke said it was all in my head. (Well, duh…)
A bloke at uni reckoned tumeric would cure it. Now I take a lot of tumeric. A lot. My poo is the colour of custard.
A woman I know, who is a kinesiologist and spirtual lama breeder, reckons pressing hard into the depression just in front of the ears will definitely cure tinnutis. Do it as much as you can, for as long as it takes, she said.
So, dear reader, here I am: It’s Friday night and a young Aretha is struggling to cut across the sound of… of… of a giant cyborg cicada on ice, scratching its claw down a blackboard. My face is bruised from pressing the depression just in front of my ears. (I think I have dislocated my jaw.) The wine has run out, my poo is a Wallaby jumper, the rain has stopped and there’s 11 hours till morning.
Luckily, I have Valium.