Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm way too important

You may have noticed that one of the blogs featured in my Blog List is you hear some funny things when you are deaf.

In yesterday's post entitled hard of hearing for a purple squishy day Mog reports how she persuaded Inukshuk Rob to find out what it felt like to be hard of hearing by wearing earplugs for a day. To his credit, Rob gave it a try, and then reported his findings.

The thing is, Rob jettisoned the experiment after half a day.

For a moment I thought I would be magnanimous and undertake the experiment myself.

But I quickly ran into a question about online banking, and needed to call the Help line.

Then, after getting that sorted out, I headed off to a church discussion group. Well, it wouldn't do to be hard of hearing (HOH) if I was going to be participating in a small group discussion, would it? Neither would it be convenient to be HOH when the group went on to dinner at a restaurant. Needless to say, it also would have been inconvenient to have been HOH when I invited the gang back to my house after dinner. Finally, it would have been much less fun to have been HOH when Louise and I put on some music and gave the others a demo of the West African dance we had learned from Esther.

After my guests left, I went to bed. I suppose it wouldn't have mattered if I'd been HOH while I slept.

But, shortly after I woke up this morning, my mom phoned from East London, South Africa. That conversation would have been impossible if I'd been HOH.

After speaking with my mom, I walked to a garden fair called Seedy Sunday, where Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community was going to have a display table. As I am wont to do, I took the short cut that involved walking along the railway tracks. But, in order to do that, it's crucial for me to hear trains hooting at level crossings. It warns me to get out of the way when a train is approaching. There is no way I can afford to be HOH when I'm walking along the railway tracks.

Of course, in order to answer people's questions while I was hosting the display table, I needed to be able to hear.

After spending four hours at the Seedy Sunday event, I retraced my steps along the railway tracks. I once again needed my hearing for that, don't you know?

Then Mia, one of my fellow cohos, called to ask me a question. Well, how could I have conversed on the phone with Mia if I'd been HOH?

Jeez, I had important things to accomplish. As long as I was awake, I couldn't afford to be hard of hearing -- not even for an hour.

I'll bet you that's what Mog thinks too.


SpeakUp Librarian said...

Ouch. Your post hurt. Don't you think hard of hearing folk are important too and that we accomplish important things? I found your post through Mog.

Judy Roberts said...

Sarah, OF COURSE I think deaf and hard of hearing people are important and that they accomplish important things!

I was attempting to make my point through the use of irony.

Judy Roberts said...

Sarah, as someone who is trying hard to master compassionate / nonviolent communication, I have learned something from our exchange of comments, above.

I could have been reading too much into it, but it seemed to me that your use of, "Don't you think ....... ?" introduced an element of accusation into your observation.

By the same token, I now think that my typing "OF COURSE" (in all caps font) was the equivalent of saying, "Duh!" and rolling my eyes.

I was tempted to delete my comment, above, as I thought it reflected poorly on me.

However, I have decided to retain my comment, warts and all, in the hopes that the string of comments -- in its entirety -- will be useful.

Mog said...

Hi Judy
I read your post with my ironic specs on so I got it first time. Probably because I have read a fair few of your posts before, on here and in other incarnations.I can understand what Sarah means,I think that I would have read it the same way had another poster posted. If you follow that.

I think the exchange shows two things, one is the difficulty faced by HOH and deafened people when we have to communicate in text rather than speech. The second is that we are so used to being put down and in our place that one starts to expect it, and maybe see insults where none were intended.

I enjoyed your post. If you were HOH you would still try to do all those things, expect maybe the shortcut. I doubt though that you would do them all the same day or even the same week. It's intensely tiring trying to lipread, to listen for long periods. You soon need to retreat to rest before attempting to be sociable again.

Perhaps you would be a candidate for the purple squishies?

Judy Roberts said...

Hi Mog,

Okay, you're on. I will do the earplug experiment on Friday, March 6th.

That's a day on which I don't have any phone appointments lined up, but on which I'm planning a certain amount of interaction with the outside world.

I will walk from my home to the downtown core, through normal streets and traffic (but not along the railway track). I'll buy a week's worth of groceries at a supermarket. Stuff like that.

I'm guessing that kind of day will present me with enough face-to-face transactions that it will give me at least some sense of what it's like to be mildly hard of hearing.

Afterwards I will share my experience.

Mog said...

Oh Judy, wow, you are another star. Do do take care though, especially in traffic. You have to look before you step out in the road. Also be careful on steps or uneven floors as it's hard to lipread and watch where you are putting your feet.

If you can think of a way to block out more sound than just the earplugs that would be good, headphones on top maybe, or a scarf. But do be careful, Maybe always have someone with you if you can.


ms toast burner said...

Woo hoo! Great to hear, Judy!

Another guinea pig! (evil grin)

I'm looking forward to your report, very much!

Anonymous said...

Good luck Judy and do be careful.
I look forward to reading of your day.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Judy,
Thank you for clarifying that you were being ironic. I was hoping that might be the case but as that was the first post ever I have read on your blog, I was unsure.
It will be interesting to read of your experience with the earplugs.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Judy,
Just after visiting your blog, I read this blog post and thought I'd share it with you.

Judy Roberts said...

Wow, this has turned into quite a discussion.

Thank you for returning, Sarah, and continuing the conversation.

Thank you also for the link to Amy Kay's post. It gave me goose bumps.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Judy,
I'm back. Just read this post about a deaf woman's experience calling a bank with a question and thought I'd share as you mentioned that task in your post.