Tag Archives: processing sound

Saturday 20th June – Mixed Salad Malfunctions

I’m back from college, tired and a bit mentally bedraggled. It was an intense year! Soon I can post a backlog of blog entries here. In the meantime here’s an entry from last Saturday. Since my previous post I have got myself a Saturday job in a restaurant. It’s a policy of my workplace that I cannot name it online. So I will refer to it with many different names, starting with The Home of the Giant Scone. 

Restaurants are full of background noise. As well as scores of chatting customers and clinking cutlery, a playlist of popular music is played on a loop all day long. Once I have heard “We are Young” by Fun or “Here Come The Girls” for the seventh time that day I know  it’s nearly hometime.

Restaurants are not ideal places to hear clearly if you have Auditory Processing Disorder like I used to. Thanks to Johansen IAS therapy, Auditory Processing is now only a weak area for me, and I can hear almost every single word that customers and colleagues say to me. My job as a Table-clearer is mostly a physical task of cleaning tables and carrying trays back to behind the scenes to be cleared of food and washed. My job also involves chatting to customers and making sure that they are happy with their eating experience. Hearing clearly and being able to tune out table sounds and Top 40 canned music is very helpful to my job. Something that I lacked before Johansen IAS therapy, and something which after today I’m sure I will have to use all the time are PEOPLE SKILLS. Dealing with the public is part of my job, so good communication is essential. I have a feeling that my new job will teach me a lot about people.

I cycled to the Home of the Giant Scone, changed into my uniform, secured my Beard Net onto my head, put my little hat on and got to work.

Today was business as usual, apart from a few stroppy customers.

The first was a woman who called me over to look at her plate. “Would you say that this is a mixed salad?” she asked me. I wanted to say “Is this a trick question?” There was a varied mix of chopped vegetables and leaves on her plate beside a baguette, so I instead I said “Yes”. She insisted that there was too much lettuce and not enough tomatoes and cucumber. “Not like the plates on display” she insisted, trying to educate me as to what the qualities of good salad should be.

I guessed that she was one of these people who considered that the grass was always greener on the other side, mainly because the other side belonged to someone else. I supposed that in proportion to the fresh lettuce leaves, other vegetables were a minority group. As far as I was concerned that’s what a healthy Salad should look like.

She looked at me, pointing to her salad, again explaining that it wasn’t the mixed salad it claimed to be. Obviously it was only a pretender to the title of Mixed Salad. Perhaps not even a Salad at all. Mixed Salad was a pedigree beyond the qualities of the leafy mongrel creature skulking on her industrial chinaware.

Even although you sometimes can’t reason with these people, it is unfortunately in my job description to put on a smile and at least try.

“I’m sorry that your salad is not mixed enough. How can I make this right for you?”

Still glaring at the Leafy Green Impostor on her plate, the woman asked me to go and get her more tomatoes and cucumber. I took the plated baguette back to the food prep area and explained the situation.

“There’s a woman upset about the diversity of her salad and complaining bitterly about it. Can I have some more tomatoes and cucumber please?”

He spooned on more chopped vegetables and I headed back to appease her. Being as polite as I could without taking the piss, I kept smiling and asked her if everything was better now. Instead of dealing with her Salad malfunction I could have been clearing more tables which were filling up quickly.

She eyed her plate suspiciously. “It is somewhat better”.

There’s just no pleasing some people. I dismissed myself from her table to go deal with some real problems.

Behind the scenes again I bumped into the plated baguette preparer. He asked if the customer was happy now.

“She said her salad is somewhat better”.

He gave a whatever kind of shrug, clearly a veteran of kitchen complaints. “It’s not a salad anyway. It’s a garnish”.



Friday 6th July

It was a hot, sunny day.

“I thought you’d escaped” was what my gardening supervisor said when I turned up at the yard. Although I have officially left the company, I was doing an extra day to help cover someone on leave. I would have preferred a day off, but I was happy to see them.

I like spending time in the van with the kind, funny gardeners with their banter and hilarious stories.  We had a discussion about what if everyone drove hamster balls instead of cars, and got attacked by what my friend described as “super midges” in a garden on the banks of Loch Lomond.

All day I thought about Grandpa. He was asleep since Tuesday and a doctor suggested he may need to go to hospital. His colours were different from normal when I visited on Tuesday. He usually has a little eggshell blue around him. When I got home my mum told me that he seems fully recovered, sitting up this morning in his chair and eating breakfast! Maybe he just needed some extra sleep.

Friday 26th April

At an RSPB conference today with my friend who is creating a community garden, I was (somewhat ironically) the ears of the operation.
I was there to listen, as much as anything. Some of it was very interesting, some of it wasn’t so interesting. I sifted through the information and noted down details which may be useful for the community garden project I’m helping with. The presentations lasted for several hours, but my Auditory Processing abilities were up to the task. I met some new people, saw some tanks of pond life and learned more about what we can do to encourage wildlife to thrive in urban areas. There was also the best free buffet lunch I have ever eaten.

On my way home from the local train station I was on my bike waiting for the lights to change at a Crossroads junction. The motorcyclist behind me kept revving his engine despite the red light, raring to go. That was worrying me a bit. When the light turned green I had to cycle uphill from a standing start, and it takes a few seconds to get momentum going. I heard the motorbike engine start and a voice behind me shout,
“You’ve got gears, you know!”
In the past, I would have never heard clearly enough to pick up all the words from a voice:
• Behind me
• Muffled by a motorcycle helmet
• Surrounded by traffic sounds
And I wouldn’t have had the quick processing and presence of mind to yell back, while cycling,
“You’ve got an engine! It’s alright for you!”

Sunday 27th October- The first song I ever heard

I’m back from the wedding. Happy, tired and a little hung over.

There’s a story to go with this link. 


Years ago, I was at a friend’s house and she showed me this You Tube video. We were amazed at how talented this kid is. He’s only about five years old and plays “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz on the Ukulele, singing along. It was funny, charming, and his musical skills were mind-blowing. As we goggled at the screen, my friend said that it was cute how he was making up the words.

Is he? I thought. I had the same song at home on iTunes and the words the boy sang sounded exactly the same to me. Not that they were words exactly. As far as I could tell, the “words” in songs were mostly just mouth noises. But the tune was catchy and I like the sound of guitars, so this was one of the very few songs I recognized.

 Funnily enough, this was also the first song I ever heard properly. It was the 26th January 2012, about three years later, and I’d been listening to my new Johansen CD for about a month.

My small collection of music was starting to grow, but “I’m Yours” was still one of my favourites. Listening to it, for the first time I heard real, understandable words. They were about love.

From then on, I couldn’t hear enough music. My little group of CDs had a population explosion and I started listening to new genres.  “I’m Yours” may not be my favourite song anymore, but there’s nothing else I’ve listened to that makes me feel happier.