Wednesday 1 July 2009

The nutter on the bus goes 'You're not deaf!'

And so the heatwave continues! The BBC can't do a weather report at the moment without putting the NHS Direct emergency number at the start – a bit excessive perhaps? But then I am not elderly, vulnerable or likely to leave the flat without being slathered with suncream and my lovely hat.

Even at 7.30am this morning as I am typing this on Pinkberry, everyone on my bus looks like they’re slightly wilting at the edges – the men in suits are shuffling around trying to stop their trousers from sticking to their thighs, and the women seem to be wearing as little clothing as possible.

I do love this weather though. I mean, take last night, there I was walking home at 10.30pm, after a delicious dinner with Gym Buddy and Lovely Freelancer, and it was so hot I was in T-shirt!

Lovely Freelancer is getting married this month, and Gym Buddy is getting married in just over 400 days, and they're both very excited about their impending big days.

I am going to Lovely Freelancer's wedding. I've got a fabulous dress, which Ma has hemmed to my pigmy proportions, as it was about 2 feet too long! Even with the hemming I have to wear incredibly impractical platforms… er actually I just want to wear the incredibly impractical platforms.


Anyway, we had a brilliant catch up about weddings, jobs and life in general before tipping out and going home in our different directions!

On the way to my bus, I got given a free Evening Standard newspaper. Hurrah, I thought, something to read on the way home!

Hah! No chance!

I boarded a relatively empty bus and sat down. And right beside me sat a man. Except he tried to sit so close that just the natural act of breathing meant I could tell that he'd clearly spent the evening lying mouth open with his head under a draft beer pump in the pub.

And then, he began to talk. Except when you have more alcohol in your body than blood, this means speech is more than a little unclear! He definitely told me I was cute and he wanted to talk to me, but the rest, I have no idea!

I smiled at him politely in the way British people do when they're really thinking something quite rude, and hoped he’d leave me alone...

Hah! I should be so lucky!

The problem was, I really couldn't understand him. So I tried a different tactic.

‘I'm hard of hearing,’ I told him.

To which I received a sharp jab in the ribs with his elbow.

‘No you're not,’ he said. ‘You don't sound it.’

‘Erm, well I am,’ I replied, wishing he’d pass out and leave me alone.

But instead, he came up very close, and shouted in my ear, which really was the last straw, but seeing as I was penned in by him, I wasn't quite sure what to do.

So I let him do all the usual annoying deaf tests: the covering his mouth when he spoke to see if I really needed to lipread; the shouting then speaking really quietly to see which I understood better (the answer was neither); and the confrontational questions about whether I was lying to him to get him to stop talking to me.

By then, I had realised this man had a brain the size of a Fantail goldfish. So I decided to try and distract him by asking him lots of questions. Where had he been, where was he going, where did he live etc etc and it was then I discovered he was only on my bus for 2 more stops.

This made me happy, so happy in fact, that I was almost nice to him, in spite of his rib jabbing and quite frankly rude behaviour.

It's weird being told by a complete stranger that you're not something you actually are. I don’t think people are that judgemental about other disabilities.

I mean, if I was blind, people would know, and if I was physically disabled, people would awkwardly fall over themselves to make sure they did and said the right things. And yet with deafness, people are so flipping rude.

I was in a shop the other day where the tweeny assistant hadn't quite got the hang of using her lips when she spoke. After the fourth or fifth pardon from me, I explained I was hard of hearing.

‘Yeah right,’ she said incredulously and carried on mumbling away.

So gobsmacked was I that I walked away not having said anything. How can I get people to believe me? How?


Anonymous said...

Out of order earrings?

Me said...

Haha! What an inspired idea! Will google it at lunch!

Test said...

Naw - if you were blind, he would have waved his hands in front of your eyes, asked stupid questions...

Me said...

Bill, you're most probably right!!!! I don't mind if people's intentions are in the right place. It's when they're just being idiotic that it does my head in!!!!!! DG

Anonymous said...

First thing you say to such a jerk is in sign language. "I'm deaf/hh. I don't talk to strangers." Each time he says something, reply in sign. He'll get the message pretty quick.

Lovely Freelancer said...

Very frustrating. I suppose it's because you cope so well that people refuse to believe you're hard of hearing - take it as a compliment in a roundabout way! Thanks for the mention, am honoured! x

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