The Abysmal Life of Crayon

Experience the joys in the life of jaded Sydney-siders Crayon and Jamin-kun.

Monday, May 31, 2004

My Silent World: Part 2

At work right now. Fatty has just asked me to go downstairs to get another fax for him. Surprisingly, I don't mind all that much, i like the quiet hum of the fax machine, and the fact that I can get away from my desk.

Just thinking about how good they are to me here at work...

I feel as if I have been so lucky not to experience much discrimination against the fact that I am hard of hearing, and where hearing aids in both ears.

Deaf people have a hard time communicating, and its especially hard if you are only hard of hearing, and can hear most of what people say, but not all....

My mechanism is like this. Someone says something and I don't hear what they've said - I usually say:

"I'm so sorry, I didn't hear what you said, can you say that again?" but I say it really really nicely, like no matter who they are , I really want to help them, or know what they said.

I usually get it on the second go, but if I dont hear it then, I say "I'm actually quite deaf - I have hearing aids, could you speak a little more clearly?"

More often than not, they are surprised that I am deaf, and say "Really? How interesting: and want to know how I deal with it - I ALWAYS love to tell them what it is like - I try to make it something that starts a conversation.

Usually they are so impressed by the way I can cope without sound, and say "Wow, you do really well,"

I worked in a clothes shop for ages - about three years actaully - and I used to get SO stressed out using the phone, or having to hear in a shop with loud music pumping out of the speakers...

I find it interesting though, that deaf people also get really impatient with people who don't speak the way we want them to speak, so that we can hear - I know that if my mum doesnt speak so I can hear her, I ignore her, which pisses her off.

Also, if a customer speaks in a grumbly low, mumbly voice, I would get SO irritated, and would not even try to help them.

Worst things that ever happened to me was going for a Job trial at a really trendy clothes shop in Sydney, where they had the music pumping and everything. The manager interviewed me, loved me, and said ok, have a trial.

I was ready to go thinking "I can do this - I will just have to ask everyone to repeat themselves.." The music was BLASTING, and she started to give me istructions, like "Stay down the front of the store, look out for shoplifters"

I did so, but when a customer asked me for something, I walked back up to ask the manager where it was.

She screamed at me "Didn't I tell you to stay at the front of the store?" and then she said something else, but I was so distressed, I wasn't hearing properly, so I didnt know what she was saying, and she yelled at me,

"Are you deaf?" (HAH! you've got no idea how many people say that to me)and I was freaking out, I just went back down the front of the store...

Then, she got angry at me again, for something (Im serious I had only been there like 20 minutes), I couldnt understand what she was saying, and she was geting really pissed off - and I felt like crying, and aso I took her out the back, and began to cry as I said to her, "Look I dont think I can do this - I've got hearing aids and the music is too loud and its too stressful".

She looked at me like she couldnt believe it - she was stunned. And she said, well, why didnt you tell me before?

And I said , "well, Im sorry - its not something that I find I have to tell people usually..... I just really need to get out of here."

And I ran out crying, sobbing, weeping, because I felt like I could never get a job. I walked down that main street crying so hard, people were staring at me with pity on their faces, they had no idea what I had just been through. I felt like killing myself.

But I am much better now - that was two years ago - I now have a job in a big Company in the city, much better job than that one was.

Its hard to be deaf in a hearing world, but the pain that comes from it makes me so much more of a good person - I never ever judge anyone. If someone doesnt see me, doesnt hear me, ignores me, acts strangely - I never think "Oh weirdo", I always think - "I wonder why they did that? perhaps deaf, blind, schizophrenic, problems at home, stress?"

There is always a reason for something.

Anyway, thats my story. I feel a bit sad now.

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