Cut the Clamor: Accessories for the Disturbed

In yet another installment of Tales from Menopause…

I have squishy foam ear plugs stuffed in my ears. They come in a little cardboard box from the drugstore, and sell for about $2.00. Such a small price to pay for saving a smidge of sanity.

With these plugged-up ears, I can hear my own breathing, my heartbeat, and not much else.

Menopause has made sounds that were formerly mildly annoying rise to the level of perhaps justifiable homicide. I really don’t want to kill people because they make noises like rapping a teaspoon against a coffee cup. It’s against my high moral code. And I don’t think I’d look nice in an orange jumpsuit.

So these foam earplugs have become my latest menopausal accessory. They only come in ivory, but I think I’ll write the manufacturer and ask for an array of colors to coordinate with my wardrobe. Some shades of blue, perhaps? That way the plugs would even match my dominant mood.

But I digress. It’s a Saturday morning, it’s 8:00, and a light rain is falling. I’m drinking coffee, my extra-special delicious Bananas Foster weekend blend, and reading about Janet Evanovich’s fictional heroine, Stephanie Plum, ramming her Buick into a murderer’s sedan. I live vicariously through Steph’s kick-butt bounty hunting adventures. Yet one more way I keep myownself out of jail. Life is momentarily good.

But what’s this? The sound of a chainsaw breaks into my reverie. From my back door, I see a neighbor-man whacking twigs off a tree. The twigs are an inch in diameter and could have been dispatched with a sharp pair of clippers. Instead, he’s fired-up a gas-fume spewing Husqvarna with a window-rattling volume. If I remedied the situation with a Molotov cocktail, no one would even detect the small explosion.

I shake off the bloodthirsty notion, remind myself I am a woman of peace. Or of shattered pieces? I reach for the trusty foam earplugs, breathe deeply, and yet another potentially headline-making crisis is averted. The neighbor-man lives for another day of power-tool abuse.

Even the non-menopausal may find chain-saws annoying, you say? What’s the big deal? Ah, but volume has only a little to do with the reaction of a menopausal woman to sound.

What about a spoon being scraped along the side of a cereal bowl? Some years ago, I remember a dear friend, Lu, who was going through her man-o-pause—I mean menopause—telling me she had given her husband a plastic bowl and a plastic spoon to eat his cereal. The racket he made eating his All-Bran from a china bowl had become torture to her.

Since she loved her husband and dreaded the nuisance of replacing him, she hit upon the brilliant solution of the plastic bowl and spoon. It’s really hard to make an objectionable racket with plastic, especially after you’ve seen a homicidal gleam in your dear wife’s glittering eyes. The marriage was saved.

At the time Lu told me the story, I was blissfully ignorant of menopause, and chuckled at her tale. Wow—Lu is such a funny person—how she exaggerates! Ha-ha!

But now with the scales fallen from my eyes, I see Lu was saintly in her menopausal restraint. I hold Lu in high regard, striving to live up to her peaceable standards.

I don’t believe she killed a soul during her menopause. Or if she did, she buried the bodies deep.

That reminds me… maybe I’ll go sharpen my shovel… just in case.


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