Saturday, July 01, 2017

Singing on the road

Last week was the first official week that my teen started hir first job. It is a summer job, but it’s still a real, official job all the same. The job is located a ways past Blue River, Oregon, but we call the trip out there driving out to Blue River because it’s like only one other city we have to drive into before we get to the official job site. (I’m not really sure on the name. LOL I know, that’s stupid. I know we go into a town called “Rainbow” but then when we get to hir place of employment, the address identifies the city by a different name!) But we use Blue River as the mark for our trip. Trevor starts eating breakfast after we pull into Blue River, so that’s how it is for us with this trip. Blue River is the city we keep an eye out for.

Oh, and it’s over an hour away! Actually, it’s like an hour and fifteen minutes away. We drive through several cities to get there. And we drive up on a mountain. It is a VERY scenic route! I have to take a freeway and a very long highway to get there! I spent some time last week taking pictures while driving to and from there and sharing them on Facebook.

We have to leave for the trip at 5:30 in the morning so that Trevor can get to work on time. Because of this, I had to create a new weekly schedule. The new schedule calls for me getting up at 4 a.m. Monday through Friday. Trevor gets up at 4:30 to get ready for work and the trip.

So, yeah, both of us are pretty tired on the trip. I have a cup of coffee before I leave and fill my travel mug with more coffee. (Trevor drinks hot chocolate.) Trevor sometimes sleeps on the way to hir job. I, on the other hand, cannot sleep. I have to stay awake for the drive there AND the drive home. Even so, I have still been tired and sleepy while doing all of that driving. That COULD be a problem.

I have been trying different things to stay awake for the trip: Rolling down my window, not wearing my jacket (it gets COLD out there!), counting in Spanish (my Spanish is a little rusty so this can be a challenge), slapping my face, blinking rapidly, shaking my head and even driving fast. None of those things were very effective and I didn’t feel too good about that last one. It’s dangerous to drive fast on that highway! There are lots of twists and turns. I don’t want to go flying off the mountain!

Then I tried something else. I remember how, during the many times we were on the road when I was a kid, my siblings and I would sing to pass the time. As I got older and my deafness became more profound (and THEN I couldn’t wear a hearing aid anymore), I started to grow away from my love for music and singing. I stopped singing so often. Sometimes I sang lullabies to my kids, and sometimes when I couldn’t sleep I would lie in bed and silently sing, but that is about it.

So I gave this a try – but I didn’t actually sing at first. What I did first was just play songs in my head. That didn’t work out very well. Then I silently sang songs to myself. That worked better!

Then one day, on the way out there, my son noticed my silent singing. (My son rides with me on the trip to pick Trevor up from work.) He asked what I was doing and I explained to him that I was silently singing songs to myself because it helps me to stay awake. He said I wasn’t singing, I was just mouthing the words. I told him it was LIKE singing for me, because the song was playing in my head and I sang along with it. Then I joked that he really wouldn’t want to hear me actually sing because my voice probably sounds terrible. (I don’t really know how my voice sounds. I can’t hear it! I used to sing at school in chorus and also in Sunday School but I haven’t used my voice for singing for a very long time.)

But I was thinking about what he said. Later, I asked Trevor about it. Was it so terrible to mouth the words to a song?? Trevor told me there’s nothing wrong with it and people do it all the time.

This actually made me feel better. And, hey, I always felt happy when I was silently singing along to a song. I LOVE singing so much. In fact, I used to want to be a singer. My sister, Elizabeth, and I wanted to start our own band when we were teenagers! It just makes me feel good and I enjoy singing.

But I thought even more about it. And, later, I felt brave enough to actually sing in the van as I drove home one day. I had my window down, sure, but I didn’t care if anybody heard me! I was gonna sing!

This has actually worked even better in keeping me awake for these long drives.

But in the afternoons, when I’m driving there and back to pick Trevor up, I’m not brave enough to sing in front of my kids. I have not gotten to that point yet. And anyway, maybe it’s better that I don’t. I sing old songs. Not new songs, though my kids have TRIED to introduce me to them, but old songs. Songs I grew up hearing and singing. Songs I know the words and music to.

Songs I knew before I became deaf.

In a way, singing these songs, and playing them in my head, has helped me to remember them. I can’t listen to them anymore, so I have to rely on my memory on what kind of tune a song had, what kind of music it had, and what the lyrics were. Sometimes I have to go back to read the lyrics to help me remember a song again, but if I can’t remember the music for it, it’s very hard to remember the song itself if I only know the lyrics. I have to know the WHOLE sing. Remember all of it.

That said, these are the songs I sing on the road or that I’ll be mouthing or have playing in my head that I remember the words and music to:

“Heaven” by Bryan Adams

“Sister Christian” by Night Ranger

“It’s a Long Road” by Dan Hill

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

“The Search is Over” by Survivor

“What About Love?” by Heart

“These Dreams” by Heart

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Jack and Diane” John Cougar Mellencamp

“Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers

“Soul to Squeeze” by RHCP

“Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon

“In My Dreams” by REO Speedwagon

“All Through the Night” by Cyndi Lauper

“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler

"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship

"We Built This City" by Starship

"Sara" by Starship

"Beat It" by Michael Jackson

"Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson

"Thriller" by Michael Jackson

“Inside” by Ronnie Milsap

“Any Day Now” by Ronnie Milsap

“In the Still of the Night” by Ronnie Milsap

“It Was Almost Like a Song” by Ronnie Milsap

“I Love Rock N Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

These are the songs I’d sing or have playing in my head IF I remembered the words and music (some I know from when I had a hearing aid):

“Unforgiven” by Metallica

“Sad But True” by Metallica

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

“St. Elmo’s Fire” by John Parr

"Come As You Are" by Nirvana

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana

"Lithium" by Nirvana

"We Will Rock You" by Queen

"Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

"Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen

"Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen

"Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister

“We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel

“Never Surrender” by Corey Hart

“Take On Me” by A-Ha

“Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

“Queen of Hearts” by Juice Newton

It may be unusual for a deaf person to be singing, but I wasn’t born deaf. I have a voice and I did hear songs before I lost my hearing (I became deaf from meningitis). And, well, I’m an unusual kind of person. I don’t fit into any mold. So maybe it’s not so terrible for a deaf person to be singing. Used to be I got to a point where I shunned music and everything associated with it because “I’m deaf” and it’s not part of my world. But it’s a part of my past. It’s the person I used to be. And I have realized that it’s okay to let this person who sang and loves music out of her shell every once in a while. Even if I get criticism from the Deaf community for using my voice and not signing and indulging in something that “you need to be able to hear” to be a part of. Well, I’m doing this in my own way. And if the Deaf community hates on me for that, screw ‘em! I am used to having haters. Haters ain’t gonna stop me from doing what I have to do in life and what I WANT to do in life. Haters gonna hate! Let them hate. I don’t care. 

And, hey, if this is something that helps me to stay awake while I’m driving on a long road, it works for me. And I’ll do it.

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