An awesome, old friend of mine came into town last week Thursday - Sunday but the only time we could see her was on Sunday. Sunday came and my wife almost left without me! I can understand why: I've been closing myself up quite a bit since I've gotten my CI, my default defense mechanism when I'm overwhelmed. But I wanted to see my friend as I'd not seen her in several years so off we went.

I got there and the auditory assault wasn't really immediate. We walked into a somewhat quiet department store and emerged from that department store into a relatively quiet little courtyard in front of it. I let my guard down a little, plus it was great to see my friend! We walked through the mall to a restaurant to get a bit of lunch. It still wasn't overly populated and I was just fine with that. Sat down, ate some lunch and had a wonderful time catching up. The ladies were doing most of the talking and I got a bit antsy so I suggested we go walk around the mall. (Cue dramatic music...)

That's when the adventure started. We walked out into a mall that had transformed to house quite a few more people. The initial auditory overload wasn't too bad. But as I'm walking along, I got a new experience/realization: I could actually perceive the voices of the people around me. As I made that realization, I realized I could pick out individual words they were saying around me. Pretty cool, right? Yea, it was. But then I realized I had no control over it. I got a word from random folks all around me! It was hard to locate them and took time and scanning to find the voices, particularly since the voices landed in "sound voids" that quickly disappeared. A word from the person twenty feet in front of me to left; the kid trying to get his mother's attention on my left (Momma Momma Momma Mommaaaaaa); b-word from the teenaged boy behind me to the right; and on and on and on... Tried to tune them out and just focus on the talking between Susie and Julie but...no go. Oy... After about an hour of that merry-go-round, I made my apologies to the ladies and suggested that I needed to head home as I had a pounding headache. Stepping outside was sweet but it was going to take a while for the reaction headache to go away. Since I wasn't driving, I fell asleep on the way home. That was for the best.

Awesome and positive experience but not something I'll rush to repeat again anytime soon. Great first attempt at getting a bit of auditory training in a noisy environment. Next time I do something like that, I'll make sure I stay in one spot so I'll have an easier time identifying what's what when.

Thanks for listening, as always! πŸ€ŸπŸΎπŸ’πŸ€ŸπŸΎ