Background: I basically have no aural filters, so all sounds hit me with equal impact. I’ve learned to never assume others hear or understand what I hear. Robert is aware of my sensitivity to noise and tries to anticipate and fix what might be annoying for me around the house, bless him.

  • Robert: I’m going to do some work on the door to the hutch this weekend.
  • Me: Oh. What’s wrong with it?
  • Robert: It’s making that weird noise again. I fixed it once, but it’s back. (opens door ) Do you hear that?
  • Me: Well, there’s a lot going on there. Which noise are you concerned about?
  • Robert: it goes ” Whappity whap Whap wannng.” Hear that? (opens and closes door 4 or 5 more times)
  • Me: Yes. But there’s a low-pitched “thunk” in there, too. And what about that…that… (whistles high pitch)? Is that coming from the door or is that a bird outside?
  • Robert: What? I hear the “thunk” – but I think it’s part of the fundamental “Whappity whap.” I do not hear (whistles high pitch).
  • Me: Really? It’s very loud to my ears.
  • Robert: (opens and closes door 4 or 5 more times) Oh, yeah! I hear it now. There is a high (whistles) in there, but it’s very faint. The “Whappity whap whap wannng” is much louder.
By now, the cats have seated themselves in an audience formation on the counter – their little heads moving back and forth in unison, a la Wimbledon.
  • Robert: (continuing to open and close the door until my eyes start watering — my left eye has even begun to twitch) Hmmm… I’ll have to see if I can fix that, too. It’s probably just the hinge squeaking. ( continues opening and closing the door, assessing the source of each sound)
  • Me: (molto agitato) Well, if you need to prioritize Your efforts, I’d say the “thunk” is pretty low on the annoyance-ometer. The “Whappity-whap Whap” is mid-range. The “wannng” is definitely at a higher threat level – George Bush would label it orange and alert the airlines – but the (whistle) is friggin’ Defcon 4, buddy ! Now, can you please stop flapping that damn door around?
  • Robert: ( calmly and quietly closes door ) Yes. My research is complete. I will now form a plan of action.
  • Me: Thank You, dear. ( wipes eyes. gulps down two extra-strength Tylenol) I’m going to take a nap now.