March 10, 2007
He can never escape the ringing in his ear. The irony is that he is completely deaf in that ear, other than the ringing, which is the result of a near-fatal bout of meningitis in his youth. Both the deafness and the ringing isolate him; people get annoyed when they have to repeat their remarks, including the most inane, and no-one who isn’t suffering the ringing can have any idea of how difficult it is to survive under daily torture. He has endured it for two decades, and the specialist tells him cheerfully, “Many people commit suicide!” That doesn’t help.