Monday, 5 October 2015

Deaf Girly in Starbucks

This morning I was reminded embarrassingly of my deafness when, as a special treat, I decided to get a toasted Cheese and Marmite panini before work.

With Starbucks, I always try to pass the Denny's test when giving my order (you know the one where you have to get your entire order through without the waitress asking any qualifying questions) and usually I do well. I make sure if I'm ordering a drink I give the size, clarify that I won't want any bells and whistles and that I don't want anything else. It's a self preservation thing – I find it so hard to hear in Starbucks, Pret, Itsu and all the other breakfast and lunch places in central London.

So today I thought would be relatively straight forward. After all, it was a Cheese and Marmite panini to take away, no hot drinks. But apparently not.

The woman behind the counter asked me something. She asked it again. And again and again. She was embarrassed. I was embarrassed. The information I gave her about being hard of hearing fell on deaf ears. The situation was too far gone to salvage.

Eventually after leaning my head between the till and the counter in such a way that had I been in a bank, I would have set alarms off and been carted away, I managed to grasp that she was asking me whether I wanted Ketchup or brown sauce with my Cheese and Marmite panini.

Never in a million years would I have guessed she was going to ask me that, because ketchup or brown sauce with cheese and marmite seems to categorically wrong that I simply can't envisage it. And that's coming from someone that eats baked beans on lettuce and adds salad cream to practically everything.

Failing the Denny's test was a stark reminder that I am deaf. And while most of the time I can wing it, some days, like today, I fail spectacularly. But just incase, from now on I am going to add that to my Starbucks order.

'Cheese and marmite panini please. Toasted. To take away. No ketchup or brown sauce (no I'm not crazy). No hot or cold drinks. No receipt. Thank you.'

I'll let you know how I get on.

Happy Monday peeps.


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Deaf Girly & Twitter

This morning, I was frustrated because the programme on Rugby and head injuries I'd downloaded onto iPlayer iPad app to watch on the way to work didn't have subtitles. I was frustrated because this hardly ever happens anymore. Especially not on iPlayer.

This year, I've been frustrated that the subtitles didn't work when I visited Odeon. It was annoying. I ate plastic cheese – that was horrendous.

But what I have to remember is that things have changed.

They really have.

When I look back at my early blogs – I can't believe I've been writing Deafinitely Girly's ramblings for more than eight years now – so many of my posts were full-on rants about how many things were inaccessible to me in London.

If I went to see a subtitled movie it was a massive event. It normally didn't work. This year, I have successfully watched four subtitled films at the cinema. Things have changed.

Other blogs I wrote were about my difficulty in contacting customer services for companies. Anything from British Gas and O2 to car insurance and doctor's surgeries.

But things have changed. And the thing that's changed it the most for me personally is Twitter.

Now, I don't even consider calling a company if I have a question, a problem or something I want help with. No longer do I struggle with the automated options, the beeps, the strong accents and the fact that I am a deaf person trying to make a phone call.

Nope. In the last two years alone, I have sorted out my phone via the @O2 Twitter peeps, sorted out a meter problem via @BritishGasHelp and got @TheAA_UK to email me about something when I couldn't find how to contact them by email on their website.

Yesterday, I had a text from DPD to let me know they were going to deliver a parcel to my flat. The postcode was wrong. I was at work. Online, I could alter the delivery so that I could pick it up at the DPD depot, but I still had a lot of questions, such as 'Would they hand it over if I didn't have documentation with that postcode on?' and 'Had I changed the day correctly online?'

Forgetting about the power of Twitter for a moment, I lifted the phone (I know!! Why do I even bother?) and got trapped in an automated recorded message with loads of options and no way of hearing them. And then I remembered Twitter. And Tweeted @DPD_UK. They got straight back to me. They followed me and continued the conversation over direct message. And by the end of the day it was sorted. Just like that. No tears of frustration. No roping poor, unsuspecting – but never complaining – friends and colleagues to sort it out for me.

'This must be what it's like for hearing people when they call up customer services,' I thought. But do you know what, I think I'm luckier. I don't have to go through a million options on the phone before getting to a real person. Real people are on Twitter for these companies and more than happy to help me... and most likely anyone else who Tweets them.

Twitter has totally changed how I interact with companies for the better. So many of the struggles I used to blog about are disappearing little by little, year by year.

Amazing huh?

There is however just one final thing I want to fix. And that is having a GP surgery where I can make appointments online. So I don't have to get someone else to make an appointment for that embarrassing problem (NOT THAT I HAVE ONE BY THE WAY) and so that I can finally take control of most aspects of my life.

So yesterday, I trawled through all the GP surgeries in my area until I found one that I could make online appointments with. And I'm going to join it. I am ridiculously excited about this.

Sure, there's still things that could be improved, and I'm sure I'll rant about them at some point, but today, I'm quite happy to say that from Deafinitely Girly's point of view, things are changing. It's not so hard anymore.

Have a lovely day peeps


Friday, 25 September 2015

Deaf Girly works out

So I've blogged about it before, but I am a bit of a fan of the subtitled workouts you can download from iTunes. I have a couple now – a Pilates one where the woman says 'Good job' so many times, I actually want to throw her and my laptop out the window, a dance one that I am completely and utterly useless at, and a HIT one, which I think is brilliant.

 The thing I love most about a HIT (high intensity) workout is that you have to work hard, but the end is in sight at all times. So recently, before settling down to work from home, I've been doing one of the four workouts that are included in the download.

 But there is just one thing that frustrates me, and it's not my hearing – for once – it's my eyesight. As my Pa once said, when everyone else was queuing up for the good hearing and vision qualities, I was making a beeline for the 'good taste in handbags' one and missed the senses boat. So not only am I deaf, but I am also incredibly short sighted – as in 'glasses slipping down the nose from the weight of the lenses' short sighted.

 Without my glasses or hearing aids, I am literally helpless – as I once discovered while camping in the middle of a French forest when I went to the toilet (in the great outdoors) but forgot to put my glasses on, turned my head torch off for privacy and ended up unable to work out where the hell the campsite was anymore. I had to stand there and shout until someone came to my rescue and guided me back.


 Anyway, so because I do the HIT workouts before my morning shower, it means that I don't yet have my contact lenses in and this means doing a workout in my glasses, which when you're doing press ups and burpees and trying to read the subtitles from all manner of angles, is not very productive. I kept missing what the instructor was saying, my glasses kept falling off and it really wasn't working. 

But then I remembered I recently invested in some prescription swimming goggles – quite a life changing addition to my swimming technique as I no longer do granny breaststroke with my glasses on – so I quickly got them out of my gym bag and popped them on. And do you know what? They kind of worked.

OK, so I was sweating so much my eyeballs felt like I'd popped them in a sauna, and my hair got a little matted, but I could read the subtitles mid press up, burpee and whatever else she was yelling at me to do.

 But a quick glance at my reflection confirmed that I looked like a complete nutcase, working out in prescription swimming goggles... so if there's some magical solution I haven't heard of, please do let me know.

 Have a fab weekend peeps

 DG x