Thursday, 22 May 2008

Love in the time of deafness

Today I am going to a wine tasting

*hic

So I thought I’d better update this before, not after, so I didn’t accidentally write a love confession to…
Actually, come to think of it, I think I am fairly safe on that front just now – there are no potential suitors in my midst.

But just thinking about it has got me reminiscing about my first crush… and do you know – I can thank my deafness for meeting him. Although at the time no one knew and I think he liked me as I came across as something of a rebel.

You see I was always in trouble when I was at school, in the days Before Hearing Loss Was Discovered (BHLWD)… and in the days after come to think of it.

At my first school I had this draconian teacher who wouldn’t explain what she had just said when I told her I didn’t understand. She scared me witless, so much so that I actually rubbed a hole in my maths book as I got a sum wrong so many times. And, at 6 years old, I thought rubbing a hole in my maths book was a cardinal sin. I nearly cried on parents’ evening as I thought my mum might shout at me. She did shout, but at the teacher for being so evil. However, it still got me lunch detention for a week…

After two years of seeing very little of the outside of my school and lots of time practising lines on the blackboard, I moved up to the big school – it was louder and therefore had lots more potential for me to get into trouble.

Bollockings became a regular occurence. Usually a teacher had said, ‘Quiet’ and I hadn’t heard them so carried on nattering – something I am very good at. I would then be hauled across the room and banned from break, or put on changing room duty. The former punishment saw me standing outside the staff room for most of the term’s break times – but it was OK as the headmaster’s wife took pity on me and gave me the pick of the best conkers. The latter, involved tidying up the girls’ changing rooms – a mass of jolly hockey sticks and mud.

One time I got told off in the lunch hall in front of the whole school and I was mortified. The whole school gawped at me, the brand new junior with blonde pigtails jutting out at mad angles (my dad had done my hair that day… I looked like a hybrid Pippy Longstocking) being shouted at public-school style by a very tall teacher. Placed in the corner facing the wall as the rest of the green-clad clones filed out I began to cry… the kind of snivelling you do when you don’t want anyone to know you’re crying but they can tell as your shoulders are shaking and there lots of snot.

I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and there was the cutest boy in the year above and he handed me his hankerchief and told me he’d sort some of his friends to do my changing room duty. And I fell in love! I guess being naughty was an attractive trait to 11-year-old boys and he took a shine to me – and until I left that school I had a protector. Wonder what he’s like now…

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