Driving Miss Digital

Hearing vs Listening

“Okay, I’m listening.”

“No, you’re not. Before I start, there’s a little chore you need to do.”

“Sure, Grandma Moon.” I should have stayed in Digitown and never returned, he thought.

“My cat’s stuck in the attic. Get her for me, will you?”

“How did it get stuck?”

“We’ll ask her when you bring her down.”

The attic was up a creaky ladder, with its own mouldy creaky door. For some reason Bob remembered Shcrodinger’s cat, courtesy of Sampler.

“Here kitty! What’s your stupid name?”

“She’s called Impedence!” yelled Grandma Moon from the porch. Boy, her voice did carry!

What kind of name was that? “Impedence!” Then quietly: “You stupid cat, where are you?”

“You’re better off listening for it.”

“How do I do that?” Bob yelled back.

“By not talking!”

Was he really related to Grandma Moon? He couldn’t imagine his mom having lived under her.

The attic was dark and quiet. Many memories, none of which Bob was concerned about. He would have his own.

Bob suddenly felt scared, but he couldn’t admit failure in front of his grandma. That would be the second man-failure on one day. It wouldn’t have been a record though, Bob had seen worse.

It took a while for Bob’s eyes to adjust to the darkness. He remembered Dr. Optoglass’ notes. But I don’t have half an hour, he thought.

Something moved. It was hard to guess what or where, with the creaking and chirping choir in full swing.

Adrenaline pumped. His heart rate increased. An awareness for sound he never knew existed awoke in him.

This time he heard it distinctly! It came from the farthest corner. He walked to it.

Impedence was sitting quietly in the corner, over a dusty photograph. She didn’t complain when Bob picked her up. Her body had wiped some parts of the photograph clean. Bob looked at it.

It was Grandma Moon’s and Grandpa Bob’s photograph – in a newspaper article. The headline screamed: Banished from Wolfcrow!

Why were they banished from Wolfcrow? And if they were banished, what was she doing in Wolfcrow?

The article explained that Grandpa Bob had had an unacceptable relationship with Grandma, and that film folk shouldn’t mix with analog folk.

Film folk? Bob’s Grandpa was a film guy?

“Thank you for bringing him down, dear.” Grandma Moon accepted Impedence and placed her on her lap.

She saw the photograph in his hands, and smiled.

“History repeates itself. It echoes across the ages. Things look new to you, but not to history.”

“I was at her home today morning.” Bob told her everything. “She hates me. I’m such a loser I feel like stuffing my head into the ground. Which is why I came here. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.”

“You think she hates you?”

“That’s what I’d do if I were in her place. In fact, I hate myself too.”

“She protected an intruder, Bob.”

“Yeah, she was nice about it.”

“Nice? I think she had no choice.”

“What do you mean?”

“Haven’t you understood, stupid boy? Maybe she likes you.”

Suddenly everything appeared in a different light. Bob wasn’t certain it was good or bad light, but he felt a whole lot better.

“Tell me about audio, Grandma. I’m listening now.”

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