Thursday 9 October 2014

Deaf Girly and the lipreading mishap

Today I fell through a door backwards.

Crashing into the ladies toilets, I landed on flat on my back and found myself staring at the ceiling.

And the reason for this unfortunately mishap?

I was lipreading the person who was behind me, so turned around to hear her and leant against the door of the toilets to open it, at the exact same time as someone was opening it from the other side.

Honestly, I think she was more surprised than I was. I mean it's not everyday you open a door to find someone propelling themselves backwards at you.

Luckily she stepped aside, as otherwise I would have most likely taken her with me into my heap on the tiled floor. But as I lay there for a moment, blinking at the bright lights and feeling slightly winded, I couldn't help but reflect on just how risky lipreading on the move is.

Take the time I was walking through a car park with a friend and flik-flakked over a low wall that I hadn't noticed because I'd been looking left at my friend instead of straight ahead.

Or the time I almost broke my nose on a lamp post that came out of nowhere and blocked my path mid gossip with a pal.

And then the other day I took out a small child with my handbag due to the fact I was looking sidewise instead of straight ahead and failed to notice him coming towards me. And anyone who's attempted to lift my handbag will know it's not exactly lightweight.

As I watched the poor kid rubbing his head and wondering whether my apology was genuine I toyed with the idea of trying to explain that I was deaf. But didn't know whether that would help him, or his slightly cross looking mum, understand just why I'd nearly knocked him out.

Honestly, I don't think it would have done.

You see, it's hard enough explaining deafness to someone without having to explain all the little things that go with it. Such as walking into things while lipreading.

One of my favourite things I say that confuses people is 'I can't hear you, it's too dark' and this is true. If it's too dark, I can't lipread, and therefore I can't hear but to someone not familiar with my needs it does sound very odd.

So next time I flik-flak over a wall, take out a small child or fall through the open door of the ladies loo backwards, and it's appropriate, I'm going to explain why.

And simply say: 'I'm sorry I just (insert calamity here) but I'm deaf and when lipreading means I cannot look where I am going.'

Well that's the plan, anyway. Whether I'll be able to from my winded place on the floor, remains to be seen.

Have a lovely day peeps


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