You know how in old-timey stage shows, when there's a change of scenery, the painted backdrop falls with a thud? Well, that's how seasons have been changing lately. THUD, spring arrived. THUD, summer's here. THUD, it's autumn. One day it was in the high 80s and steamy, and the next day it was low 70s and windy. Thud. I swear I heard the backdrop fall.
Ever since I entered my 50s I've been getting mail offers for hearing tests from hearing aid companies, at the rate of at least one a week. It's annoying.
I watched some videos recently about what people in foreign countries find most annoying about American tourists, and the thing that comes up over and over is that they are so loud. Americans seem to talk too loudly, laugh too loudly, shout at each other, on the streets, on buses, on trains, in pubs, in B&Bs, disturbing the peace of everyone around them and they don't even notice.
That's something I noticed here, and it does bother me. At the old house, a rural area, even in town people are much quieter. It's difficult to hear conversations in the next booth at the village diner. Here I can hear the complete conversation between two neighbors five houses up the street. The house across the street doesn't have good cell reception, so the woman who lived there would sit on her front steps to talk on the phone, and not only could I clearly hear every word she said, I could clearly hear the other person on the other end of the call.
So, I doubt I need those hearing tests, but I wonder if most Americans DO.
Please check out freerice.com. It's run by some part of the U.N. You can take tests in various disciplines, and every correct answer earns 10 grains of rice for starving folks somewhere. I think they start you out with English vocabulary. It starts out very simple, but then gets harder. If you get one wrong, pay attention to the correct answer, because you will see it again. So you learn some stuff, and send rice where it's needed. Supposedly it's paid for by the advertisers, but I didn't see any ads....
My previous post on freerice, with more detail: http://thesilkentouch.blogspot.com/2009/06/2423-free-rice.html