Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Emergency

The day after my classes went to see Wicked on Broadway, one of my morning students showed me something on her phone. She evidently didn't have the words to express what she wanted, so she used a translator. She handed me the phone. it said, "I lost my hearing aids here yesterday."

I was pretty surprised. I'd noticed nothing unusual about her. I had no idea she needed hearing aids. I knew there were some young people who used them, but I'd never noticed her doing so. And I'd been watching her every day for over a month. I looked around the room but didn't notice anything.

"What do they look like?" I asked.

"They're white," she said.

That wasn't much help. I have no idea what hearing aids even look like. I guess they go inside a person's ear. But a colleague who needs them for her daughter recently told me they cost thousands of dollars. She was trying to arrange to get them via insurance.

Anyway, I ran to a nearby office and asked if anyone had found anything. Negative. I asked whether the other teacher who used that classroom was around. Negative again. She was absent that day. This was problematic. I usually would see her two or three times a day, pulling things out of a closet she uses. If she had them, I wouldn't get them until tomorrow.

A secretary offered to help, and was going to run down to the dean's office, where they had a lost and found.

Then I started wondering--did she really lose them in that room? The last time we were here was the previous day, where we had a class before we left to see Wicked. Did she sit through the entire trip without pointing out that she couldn't hear? Did she watch a whole musical without being able to hear? Why hadn't she gone back to the room before we left?

I asked her if she was sure she'd lost the hearing aids in that classroom. She was. I then took another look at her phone. I saw her original message. She'd lost her audifonos. If you aren't relying on whatever her translation tool was, that doesn't necessarily mean hearing aid. It translates to earphones.

I asked her if she used them to listen to music on her phone. She said yes, she did. I ran to tell the secretary not to bother running downstairs. She wasn't missing hearing aids. She was looking for a pair of eight-dollar earphones.

This gave me the opportunity to try and explain to the class what a wild goose chase was. I don't think I succeeded, but I was very glad that my student hadn't really lost her hearing aids.
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