There’s a popular term in the DJ community called “cauliflower ear.” It’s when you wear big headphones – a.k.a. cans – so frequently that the cartilage in the upper part of your ear begins to knot.
I have a very specific habit of twisting the cartilage between my fingers in private, the way someone might dig into their nose at a red light or scratch at their privates beneath the dinner table.
My gnarled right ear is a souvenir from a past life. It’s a scar, a tattoo, a piercing that never fully healed over. It’s a reminder of the way things were when I was fully immersed into a particular scene, dunked fully into the exquisite cultural tank of all-things music.