This morning a publicist working for Nicholas Winding Refn‘s Drive was wondering why I was so keen to see it at the LA Film Festival this weekend, since I’d already seen it in Cannes. That’s true, I said, but with only half of my hearing. My right ear was totally clogged during my Thursday evening screening (5.19) in the Grand Palais, I explained, and I’d love to see it again now that both ears are back in operation.

Nice things that put you in a great mood are rarely interesting. It’s always more fun to write about anger or irritation and opposition of some kind. But losing almost all of the hearing in my right ear made me feel weak and vulnerable in the most awful way, and getting it back two and half days later made me feel ecstatic, renewed…saved. There’s nothing like having one of your senses severely impaired to make you really appreciate, etc.

Bath water had seeped into my right ear canal on the morning on Thursday, May 19th, my last full day at the Cannes Film Festival, and I couldn’t get it out to save my life. I tilted my head back and forth and slapped the side of my head repeatedly. I jumped up and down like a pogo stick. I started applying some ear drops and an ear-cleaning solution that I’d bought at a pharmacy. Nothing worked. And no one had sharply yanked my ear (the cause of Thomas Alva Edison‘s hearing problem) or hit me on the side of the head (which is what Brian Wilson‘s father had done, causing his singer-songwriter son to go deaf in one ear) and I hadn’t allowed it to get infected or anything. It was just bath water! But after a while I began to wonder if it was something else.

My left ear was okay but I couldn’t hear a damn thing on the other side. All I could hear was a droning inner-ear noise that sounded like distant crickets or locusts on a hot summer night. My Drive viewing was probably affected in some vaguely negative way by this, although I didn’t let on in my review. I was feeling a bit freaked but I told no one.

My right ear was still clogged late Thursday night and all day Friday. I arrived in Paris around 10:30 or 11 am on 5.20 and lived with it all day and that night. The ear drops, etc. Everything that was said to me I had to lean forward and say, “Come again?” Saturday morning, same thing. And then around noon I was driving my rented scooter down a cobblestoned hill in Montmartre, and….whusshhhhhh. My ear opened up. I could suddenly feel air seeping in, and I was hearing in glorious stereo again. It was like escaping from prison but without any guards or cops chasing me. I was free. All the intense worry about possibly having to deal with some kind of ongoing hearing issue disappeared. Wow! It was the most the purely happy moment I’ve known in a long, long time.