Yesterday I went climbing with Art Man.
To get the right train, we often have to leg it to the station after work, half jogging, half running.
It's a race between us and the train we want. And believe me, the train often wins.
So anyway, we dashed into the lobby of the station yesterday, dodging the ambling tourists blocking every single path to the ticket barriers, before swiping our oysters and picking up the pace.
As we headed for the escalator I noticed Art Man kept looking back. I was faintly aware of a man's voice. We ignored it. We had a train to catch.
But then Art Man stopped in his tracks. Then stopped me, because the man, was yelling at me.
So I turned around to see the owner of the voice. It was a ticket inspector. He looked half mad, half gleeful that he thought he'd caught somebody using a Freedom Pass who shouldn't have been.
People were staring.
He demanded to see my pass.
And before I knew it I had told him off for yelling at me. Telling him I was deaf so had no way of knowing he was yelling at me.
He clocked the hearing aids and slunk off. Not even checking my pass properly.
It was a hideous moment for me and for him.
I was mad and mortified.
I'd never been chased through a station before.
But it got me thinking, should I really have been mad at him? I mean he was there to catch fare dodgers. Should I really have expected him to have crossed off all the possible reasons why I was ignoring his yells before he simply assumed I was a dodgy person with a stolen freedom pass.
Short of wearing a sign on my back there's not a lot I can do to flag up the fact I can't hear. And also, why should I?
But it is scary. I mean, what if they one day arm people like that with tasers? What if, one day, it's a policeman yelling at me? What if, one day, things are so different that they have an taser-first-and-ask-questions-later policy?
So perhaps, over eager ticket inspectors could be taught a few little extra bits of information in their training. And that is, not all Freedom Pass holders immediately look like they need one. If you yell at someone and they don't respond, they may be deaf.
And finally, the most important one: if you do yell at a deaf DG, in public, make everyone stare at her, and make her feel like she's done something wrong, she's gonna be very very mad.
Think I'll stick to buses from now on...
Sent from my iPhone