Friday 8 January 2016

Deaf Girly and the train doors

I have gone through a large part of my life not realising that certain things make a noise.

When I was first told about my deafness, I discovered that green men beeped when you crossed the road at crossings and that birds – other than pigeons – sang. I found out that people could actually hear whispers and it wasn't about guessing what was being said.

But even after 25 years, there's still things I am finding out make a noise. For example,  the LED lamp that I use for my gel nail manicures apparently beeps when the light goes on and off. There was I thinking I'd chosen something quiet to do while FJM snoozed on the sofa.

Then at last year, NellyMac told me that supermarkets played music. Actual music. Who knew?! I certainly didn't.

Another of the things I really didn't realise when I first moved to London almost thirteen years ago was that most public transport has noises that are out of my frequency. When you press the stop request on a bus, that makes a sound. The tube doors make a sound just before they close. And apparently bus doors do this, too.

I first discovered the tube doors one after jumping on a tube and watching as the doors closed on my friend who was half a step behind me. When we met up at the next station, she asked why I'd got on when the door closing signal was sounding.

'There's a door closing signal?' I marvelled, and suddenly the time when a tube door closed on my head as I looked out to check the destination of the train finally made sense.

Since then, I approach tube doors with caution. I rarely dash for a train that's already on the platform in case the doors are beeping inaudibly and I get taken out by them as they close.

But then the other day, while sat on a snazzy new Circle Line train, I noticed that just before the doors closed, an orange light, about eye level by the door flashed. Unsure if it was just coincidence, I watched it for the next few stations and sure enough, just before the doors closed, this light flashed.

'Amazing,' I thought. 'That is truly amazing.' And the very next day I got to test it out with my Ma – who also can't hear the door closing signal. There was a train on the platform, a new snazzy one so we made a dash for it. But just as we got close, the orange light flashed and the doors closed inches from my nose. Without that light, they would have closed on me. It was brilliant.

Now though, I need to go on the older trains and see if it's just something – in my tube-avoiding world – I've never noticed before.

It's fabulous how much TFL have done to make things easier for deaf people on tubes – the captioned announcements were the first thing that I loved. No more sitting listening to unintelligible chat from the driver. Just a clear scrolling text about red signals or waiting for platforms. Obviously that system doesn't cover people on the track and other emergencies but usually in those situations someone is more than happy to enlighten you.

So now I'm on a quest to find new things that make a noise that I didn't know about. Do lifts make a noise when they arrive on your floor? Do the doors ping when they open and close?

All enlightenments welcome.

Happy Friday peeps


1 comment:

NickFitz said...

Most lifts nowadays have spoken announcements, usually something like "First floor. Doors opening. {pause} Doors closing."

Trivial lift-voice-fact: a few years ago I worked at Capital Radio's place on Leicester Square. The lift voice was done by Johnny Vaughan, who presented the breakfast show at that time. I was told that, some years previously, they'd used Chris Tarrant's voice when he was presenter of that show.

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