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Author Topic: Story: Plain Jane  (Read 18072 times)

Offline Sparky

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Story: Plain Jane
« on: 09. June 2021, 19:30:49 PM »
Ok, so I just came up with a "chapter 1" of a new story to share with you. I have no idea yet where this story will go, but I can say that it's likely to be a while before I continue it, as I want to work on my "Asian Braces" story. The main character is Jane Smith, a fairly plain girl. I'm guessing she's maybe 5ft 4in or 5ft 6in tall, fairly slim. She has long reddish / brownish hair, and a pretty average complexion.

Feel free to make suggestions of any sort.

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[Chapter 1 was here, but as I've re-written it to be 3rd-person rather than 1st-person, you'll find the updated version a few posts lower down. Don't worry, you haven't missed anything!!!]




Offline retained

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #1 on: 10. June 2021, 01:16:56 AM »
Yes. A great, detailed start. Think we can guess what might need sorting out next!!

Offline napacaster

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #2 on: 10. June 2021, 06:03:01 AM »
Wonderful start! Plenty of detail, I like that.

Offline kelly-Marie

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #3 on: 10. June 2021, 16:22:14 PM »
Great beginning to your story  I wonder what Jane will get next? Looking forward to the next chapter

Offline aktivator82

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #4 on: 10. June 2021, 16:50:24 PM »
awesome begin for a story... excited what will be the treatment for the braces

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #5 on: 10. June 2021, 21:02:51 PM »
Very nice start. I'm pretty jealous of your way of writing, I must confess  >:D

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #6 on: 11. June 2021, 04:47:56 AM »
Yes. A great, detailed start. Think we can guess what might need sorting out next!!

Yeah, I reckon she needs a good haircut too!

Offline agarionoob

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #7 on: 17. June 2021, 21:04:51 PM »
I like the characterization and detail you put into your descriptions. It really feels like we get to know who Jane is.

Offline eddiestobbart

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #8 on: 19. June 2021, 17:34:26 PM »
Fascinating story - I'm really enjoying the direction you're taking.

Offline lizziek

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #9 on: 10. September 2021, 23:38:36 PM »
Different! Like it, keep going!

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #10 on: 11. October 2021, 19:56:45 PM »
Hi all!

I've decided to tell this story from the third person, rather than the first person (ie "she" rather than "I"), so I just edited down that first chapter: the content is (almost) completely unchanged, just now written in the 3rd person.....

There will be a bit of a pause while I get Danny and Amanda (and a few other characters!) out of my head, and try to remember the ideas I had for this story a month or two ago, and then develop the story.


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Chapter 1

Her appointment was at 4:30, so she left work at just after 4: that would give her time to find somewhere to park the car, then walk through town. Luckily the traffic today was light, and she made good time. She walked through the door at 4:25, so was 5 minutes early.

"Good afternoon" said the lady on reception, "How can I help you today?"

"I'm Jane Smith - I have an appointment at 4:30"

"Let me take a look - ah yes, you are seeing Mr Jones... Just a moment." She printed off a couple of sheets, and put them onto a clipboard. "Will you follow me please?" She walked Jane to the other end of the 'shop' and asked her to sit down. She placed the clipboard in a small rack just outside the door.

Jane sat there feeling a little nervous. She picked up one of the magazines, and had a look through it, to try and pass the time.

A couple of minutes later a guy, probably in his mid 30's, came out, took the clipboard from its rack, and took a quick look at it. "Jane Smith?" Jane stood up and walked over to the door where he was standing. "Hello, Jane, please come in, I'm David Jones. Do take a seat..."

"Thanks" she said a bit nervously. Her eyes scanned the room: it looked like it did double purpose, being used sometimes for measuring people's sight... in fact just like the other rooms here, which she had been into when she got her eyes tested, and indeed got her latest glasses, a couple of months ago.

"So, I see that you've been referred by your doctor: have you ever had your hearing tested before?" he asked Jane in a very pleasant voice

"No, I haven't - I've been here for my glasses, but not my hearing" she replied with a slight smile.

"So I'm assuming that you have noticed that you have some sort of hearing issue?"

"Yes, the biggest problem I have is hearing people properly in the office, which is affecting my work, and annoying other people"

"I can understand that. When else do you have problems?"

"Well, when I'm out with friends, down the pub, it's obvious everyone else can hear what someone is saying, but I have problems. And I've noticed, when I'm at a friend's place, I sometimes have problems hearing the TV"

"What about when the room is quiet, can you hear ok then?" he said, fairly softly

"Yes, I can hear you fine, it's nice & quiet in here and there's no background noise getting in the way..."

"Ok, that makes a lot of sense. Do you suffer tinnitus at all? Permanent or occasional tones or noises in one or both your ears?"
 
She thought for a moment "Yes, I do... I occasionally get a sort of 'dirty whistle' in both my ears, and thinking about it, that's usually after we've played a gig. But I really only notice is when it's quiet".

"You play in a band?"

Jane laughed. "I've played guitar in a Metal Rock band for the last 7 years..."

"And I'm guessing you've never used ear protection?"

"No, never... You think that could be the problem?"

David nodded. "I was going to ask you if you had any thoughts on what might have caused your hearing issues, but I think you may have answered that... Have you ever had any illnesses that caused any problems with your hearing?"

"No, not that I remember"

"Well, I'll know better when I've measured your hearing, but the way you describe you hearing issues matches very well with noise-induced hearing loss. We see it in older people who have worked in noisy factories, but we're starting to see it more in younger people, such as yourself, who regularly go to loud gigs, or play in bands."

What he said made a lot of sense to Jane. She don't remember any single event that caused it, she guessed it just got worse over time. A bit like her needing glasses. When she started at secondary school, her eyesight was pretty good: she could see the board or screen ok from the back of the room. But it seems that, as she grew, so did her eyes, but not in quite the right way, and by the end of my first year at secondary school, she needed glasses.

"So, let me explain how we test your hearing...". It wasn't all that difficult. After looking into her ears, like her doctor had done, he gave Jane some fairly tightly fitting headphones, as well as a button to press. He played different tones - so different pitches, different volumes - and if she heard the tone, she pressed the button. Some of the tones were easy for her to hear, but some were very quiet, and she was sure she pressed the button a couple of times when he wasn't playing her a tone!

Finally, he indicated for Jane to remove the headphones. "Did I pass?" she asked with a big joking smile, which made him smile too.

"Come and have a look on the computer screen". Jane stood up and went over to him, so she could see the screen. "So, that's your left ear, that's your right... they actually match up pretty well. On the left are the lower frequencies, low notes: you can see that your hearing is actually quite good there, slightly above normal. But as we get into the middle and high frequencies, you can see the curve dropping off, indicating that you have a moderate hearing loss at the higher end, which matches up with what we see in people with noise-induced hearing loss".

Jane stood there, feeling slightly shocked. She knew she had a problem, but she had been trying to ignore it, hoping it might just 'go away'. But here was the proof, right in front of her: she actually HAD a problem with her hearing!

"So, please take a seat again, and we can discuss what I can do for you"

"I'm guessing you mean... hearing aids?". 'Shit, I'm only 26! And I am slightly deaf! So I'm going to need hearing aids, with lumpy earmolds and thick, obvious, tubes?' thought Jane.

"Yes, but don't worry, modern hearing aids are surprisingly small and discrete. I guess the first thing I need to ask is are you interested in considering private hearing aids, or are you looking to go with the NHS one, which of course won't cost you anything"

"Erm, I was assuming the NHS ones, but how much are private ones, and are they actually going to be any better for me?"

"Very good question. The prices for private aids starts at just under 500 pounds, and can go up to over 2500 pounds. The NHS aids are pretty much on a par with the lowest cost private aids, so you'd be looking at about 900 pounds to get something better."

Jane winced. 900 quid was a LOT of money, money which she could use for other things - like getting contacts, or even.... yes, even those things. "Erm, would it make sense to maybe start off with the NHS ones, then consider private ones if I have issues?"

"Oh, absolutely. And to be honest, most people with a moderate hearing loss like yours find the NHS aids work well for them. Let me show you what they look like, then I can programme them up, and you can see how you get on with them". David stood up, and opened a cupboard, and took out a couple of small boxes, and a couple of small plastic bags with something in them.

"So, this is the hearing aid" he said, showing it to her. It was tiny, no more than about 3 cm long. "And this is the bit that goes into your ear". He opened one of the small bags and removed a really thin tube with a sort of thin tiny umbrella on the end (no more than 1 cm in diameter!).

"And what about the lumpy earmold bit?" Jane asked

"These use what we call 'thin tube technology'. Traditional hearing aids used to block your natural hearing, and provide all of what you heard. These don't block your natural hearing, they just add back in the higher frequencies that you need. Let me clip the two together, and you can try it in". He clipped one of the tubes onto the hearing aid: the result was something that didn't look at all big or obvious. "Can you turn around so I can get to your right ear?".

Jane turned her head to him, and she could feel him gently pulling her hair to the side, then putting the hearing aid into her ear. "That seems to fit you pretty well, and your glasses don't seem to be an issue".

Jane was very surprised: she could hardly feel the weight of the hearing aid on her ear, and the small tube with its soft 'umbrella' was surprisingly comfortable in her ear, and her natural hearing felt almost unaffected.

"As I said, modern aids are quite discrete and comfortable" he said, passing me a hand-mirror. Jane pulled my hair back and saw.... well, she could see nothing. She looked a bit more carefully, and could see a tiny clear tube going over the top of her ear, then down and into her ear.

"That is amazing!" she said. "I can hardly see or feel it!". Her previous negativity towards the idea of getting hearing aids suddenly evaporated.

"Great, well let me programme up a pair for you, then we can see how they sound to you, and I'll then double-check how they fit. Would you like to remove that hearing aid... just pull it upwards and outwards....

She did as instructed, and the hearing aid came out of her ear without a problem. He took the aid, and got a second aid out of its box, opened what Jane later discovered was the battery door, and slid in a tiny ribbon, then closed the tiny door. He did the same on the second aid, then turned to his computer, and started typing and using the mouse.

"Ok, done" he said, no more than a minute later. "Let me put some batteries in, and you can try them out". He opened the battery door of each aid, removed the tiny electrical ribbon, and put in a tiny round battery. Jane turned first to the left, then to the right, letting him put the hearing aids into her ears.

"So, how do they sound?".

Wow! His voice sounded lovely and crisp and clear and clean to Jane. Her smile went from ear to ear.

"I'm guessing that things are sounding a lot clearer for you?"

"Absolutely! They are amazing.... but my own voice sounds a bit strange..."

"Don't worry, that is quite normal, you'll soon get used to it. From what my customers tell me, it's a bit like the first time you get glasses: your sight is lovely and clear, but you can see the frames, and there's a strange distortion at the edges of the lenses. But after a while, all that becomes quite normal. You'll get a similar thing with the hearing aids: they'll sound a bit strange to begin with, but after a while it will become natural. We suggest that you wear the hearing aids as much as you can, and give it a month or two for your brain to get used to the new sounds."

The most amazing thing about all that he just said was that she was able to clearly hear every bit of it. It sounded a bit odd to her, a little bit 'tinny', but she guessed that was the extra high frequencies the hearing aid was pushing into her ears.

David then got her to take them out and put them in again a few times, until she was happy doing it. Then he showed her the various parts of the hearing aid, describing how to remove the 'ear tips' and 'tube' for when the needed to be replaced, and explained how to clean it all (the hearing aids each came with a small box, which included a tiny brush with a small magnet on the end). Then he explained how to change the batteries, and how the battery door acted as an on-off switch too.

"So, how long do the batteries last?" Jane asked. The batteries themselves were tiny, about the size of a slightly flattened pea.

"Between a week and two weeks. I'll give you a stock of batteries, which should last you about 3 months. Just come in to the shop and ask the receptionist when you need some more. Same for the tubes and tips, I've put some spares into the boxes for you. The tips I've given you are the 'normal' ones, and most people find they work ok... their job is to just hold the tube centrally in your ear, but there are a couple of slightly different versions if you have any problems."

"Thank you very much" said Jane, still smiling from the joy of being able to hear things more clearly.

"If you have any problems, just get in touch with us, and if you can make an appointment for about 8 to 12 weeks time, I can check that everything is going ok for you. Do you have ANY questions you'd like to ask?".

"No, I think I'm fine". David passed her the small plastic bag with everything in, and opened the door. As she went outside, she could hear more of the background noises in the shop than she had heard before. Outside the shop, she could hear all sorts of things, including... was that a bird that she just heard chirping?

Back home Jane took a look at herself in the mirror. Jane never thought of herself as being a pretty girl, she felt she was very much a plain girl. A Plain Jane.

Jane has fairly long brown/red hair: today it is down, but she often wears it back in a ponytail: she pulled her hair back into a ponytail, to see how visible her hearing aids would be: the small hearing aids were a sort of pinky brown colour, which made them a lot less obvious, and her hair seemed to cover the aids anyway. And she could only see the tiny tubes when she was actually looking for them. Luckily, her ears were big enough that there's no problems with either her glasses or her hearing aids being over / behind her ears.

She looked at her face once more. She recently got some new glasses, which she was really pleased with. They are apparently made of titanium, so the side bits are quite bendy yet strong. The metal frames around the lenses are really thin, and the shape seems to fit her face.

Jane smiled, thinking back to the first pair of glasses she ever got. She was 11, nearly 12, and her mum chose them. She thought Jane looked 'cute' in them, but the reality was that they were horrible, and Jane got teased quite a bit about them. That was the last pair that her mum ever chose for her! Her second pair were a lot better, but she still got teased a bit.

Yeah, you've probably realised by now that Jane's self-esteem is a bit on the low side. 'Ok, so I look a bit plain, but I don't look THAT bad... until I open my mouth that is!' thought Jane.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #11 on: 06. November 2021, 18:36:34 PM »
As you might have spotted, I took a bit of a break - I needed to 'flush out' the remains of my other stories!. I'm now writing more chapters of Plain Jane, so will gently post them here over the next weeks. Please note that this is not a "full on braces story", but bear with me, there WILL be braces, it might just take Jane a while to get to the ortho!

---------------

Chapter 2

Over the next few days, Jane noticed that the way that she was treated at work changed a little. Because she was now able to hear people much better, she found she was hardly ever needing to say 'pardon' or 'say that again'. And she started to realise that she was now being included in more of the conversations in the office. She didn't think anyone had taken a conscious decision to include her more, it just happened naturally. Of course, whilst her hearing was a lot better, her brain is clearly still getting used to the new sound of everything, but it was already making her life more pleasant. So while she could hear stuff loads better, she would not have classed her hearing as perfect.

Wednesday evening was band practice: Jane had a metal / rock band, where she played bass guitar, which she really enjoyed. The band occasionally played a gig, but that's not really the reason they played together, it was more an excuse for Jane to get out of the house, and have fun playing some loud music... oh yeah, and an excuse to go to the pub after for a drink or two!

This week, having just got hearing aids, Jane decided to have a word with the other 3 guys in her band.

Yes, it was HER band: when she was 15, her brother had bought her a guitar, which she seemed to be able to learn to play. Her parents suggested she might like to have some lessons, so she had found a guy who lived locally, who gave her lessons. They used part of the garage, which worked out well. Her guitar tutor, Jim, also had an amp stack and a couple of electric guitars, so as well as playing her own acoustic guitar, they sometimes played electric guitar, which was fun. One day when she turned up for her lesson, there was another amp there, and another guitar: a bass guitar.

For a bit of fun, later in her lesson, Jim said she could try playing the bass guitar, which belonged to a friend who had been over the previous evening for a jam session. Whilst the strings played different notes, her brain quickly worked them out: she absolutely LOVED the bass guitar! The following week there was a surprise waiting for her: Jim's friend, Sam, was there, and he spent a bit of time talking to her about playing the bass guitar. In fact, Sam came along for part of her lesson for the next few weeks, helping Jane to play the bass guitar

A few weeks later, Sam was there again, and he had a big surprise for Jane.

"I just bought this new bass... want to have a play?"

"You kidding me?"

"No, I've seen you play my other guitar, you ain't gonna hurt it!". Jane took the lovely shiny new bass guitar, and started to play it, while Jim played along on his electric guitar. Jane really loved the feel of the new guitar, it was a pleasure to play. The fact that it was brand new made it even nicer!

"So, I realise that I have far too many bass guitars... I got 5 in total, so I was thinking that you could probably do something good with one of them.... so how would you like this one?" said Sam, passing his older guitar to Jane. Jane had one of the biggest smiles on her face as she took the bass guitar from Sam.

"You sure?"

"Very sure. I get a feeling you might end up making it sound better than I can. Of course, you'll also need something to plug it into, so I dug out my old practice amp..."

"Oh, Sam, thank you SOOOO much".

A couple of weeks later, Jim made a suggestion: "Jane, I have another student who comes to me just before you, you've met him a few times, and I was thinking if you'd like to do double-lessons with him: you'll have someone else to play with, and you'll get twice the time with me". Jane loved the idea, and over the next few months her playing, both of guitar and of bass guitar got better.

Another thing Jane did as a teen was to go to the local youth club, where she seemed to get on more with the 'goth' crowd, rather than the 'girls', preferring to wear jeans and dark shirts, rather than more colourful blouses and dresses. It also influenced her music tastes, and Jane was very much into indie rock and metal, and certainly NOT girl or boy bands! One day, a couple of guys approached her.

"You're Jane, aren't you?"

"Yeah, that's me"

"We hear you play bass..."

"Yeah, so what?"

"Well, we have a small rock band, and our bass player moved away over the summer, so we were wondering if you'd like to come along and see if maybe you'd like to play with us."

As a result, Jane ended up playing in their band. The other members of the band were a year older than Jane, and attended the local 6th form college, so at the end of the school year, they all moved away to university, so sadly Jane no longer had a band to play in... so she started asking around, put up notices in a couple of shops, and asked online too. Eventually she managed to get a group together, four of them in total, and they started to play together. Several years on, and they still play together regularly.

So, yes, HER band!

So where was I? Ah yes, she had a word with the other guys in her band, and told them about her needing hearing aids, and suggested that, for a start, if they were going to continue to play loud (which WAS fun!) then they should seriously consider wearing ear plugs (she had bought some for them all...), or maybe they should play a bit quieter (not such good fun). Plus maybe they should also get their hearing tested.

Then they all spent the evening having fun playing - they tried wearing the cheap ear-plugs for a while, and whilst they reduced the noise, they reduced it too much, so they removed them. That didn't deter Jane: a couple of weeks later, in a music shop, she found some more-suitable ear plugs, which blocked a lot of the sound, but let enough in to let her actually still enjoy the music.

Offline kelly-Marie

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #12 on: 07. November 2021, 18:58:05 PM »
It's all going well for Jane hope you can write another chapter soon

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #13 on: 07. November 2021, 19:59:54 PM »
It's all going well for Jane hope you can write another chapter soon

Don't worry, I'm working on it. It's just that some of it is pretty hard to write, so I'm not rushing it.

But thank you for the comment, it makes the writing worthwhile.

Offline braces37

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Re: Story: Plain Jane
« Reply #14 on: 07. November 2021, 22:02:27 PM »
This is really good so far. The hearing aids provide a unique concept, and it being a story featuring braces, but not a braces story, also gives it its own identity.