The new album had been pushed through her letterbox and fell to rest on the doormat. It hadn’t remained there long, she had thundered down the stairs and snatched it up before retreating to her room. Even though the bulky protective packaging had been rapidly shed, there was still something she had to do first before listening to the new material could begin in earnest.
She had to prepare her ears.
Cotton wool buds, lightly dampened in warm water, came first to clean any detritus and cerumen from the opening of her ears. Her hair was carefully pulled back into a tight ponytail to restrain any fleeting strands from getting in the way. The bulky headphones she had begged and pleaded with her parents for one Christmas were checked and double checked.
The adjustable headphones were calibrated to fit to her head perfectly. The wire was examined for any snarls or twists. The jack was carefully polished with a strip of material before being plugged into the high-end audio system she received one birthday.
All the settings were in their usual places, it had power, and the awaiting CD tray was ready to bear the brand new disc, now free of its jewel plastic case and the shrink-wrapped packaging.
The last things to do were to make her beanbag chair as comfortable as possible, get the remote in place, and put the CD in the drive. And with all of that done, there was a tremble to her hands as she pressed the PLAY button on the remote, her limbs tingling and heart beating faster in anticipation as she waited for the music to kick in.
“Carol!” Her mum called up the stairs, “Can you put the rubbish out?”
Carol was not gracious in her garbage disposal duties. She’d have to prepare her ears all over again.