Monday, August 8, 2011

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Hot Whiskey Punch for a Torn Up Old Man

My everyday speaking voice is low, quiet, and soft. Making myself heard over high-pitched squeals and laughs in packed bars means I have to talk louder and louder — almost a low yell  — in order to get my baritone voice to carry.

I don't like yelling, so I tend to avoid clubs, dance crowds, and packed venues. Sometimes, though, that's exactly where friends want to meet. I go because I adore my friends.

Over the last year or so, though, my hearing has started to change. I can still hear quiet, subtle sounds around the house or office just fine. That hasn't changed. But in those loud settings, the background noise seems to have grown into a Phil Spector-style wall of sound. The voices and music just ooze together into an unintelligible roar, a constant crescendo.

The result is that, unless I'm huddled in a conspiratorial ring, I miss big chunks of conversation. So I watch the crowd, observe the bartenders, say hello to passing friends. And, when I do follow the conversations, I yell to be heard in response. Last night, I yelled on and off for three hours. This morning, my throat feels like someone took a bottle brush to it. Raw, red, sore; hurts to swallow, hurts to draw air across it.

Time to deploy my mom's recipe for soothing sore throats. I realized earlier this year (only because I'd never really thought about it) that the sore throat/chest cold remedy my mother used to recommend was nothing more than a portion-controlled 19th century Irish whiskey punch; hot black tea, honey, lemon, whiskey. Proportions to taste. Vague memories of a clove floating in there, but it was strictly optional — as was everything but the whiskey.

We are, after all, Irish.

Goes well with:
  • Poitin Fails to Induce Rowley Coma, in which I write about the hunt for homemade Irish whiskey and open with "My family is not a whiskey making family, but we are, in large measure, Irish; that is, we are a whiskey drinking family."
  • I bit I wrote when everyone in the house was sick about Pei Pa Koa, a honey-loquat sore throat syrup from Hong Kong.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My Family all have poor cocktail party hearing. Weird shaped ear bones I guess. Anyway, stand with your back to a wall in these situations. Works wonders for those times you can't hibernate in your cave.