ON HAND: Odds and ends

This originally appeared in The Tactile Mind Weekly in Trudy’s ON HAND column.

These are actual incidents that took place within the past few months.

At a NFSD brunch I recently attended, we were told of a conversation that an interpreter had overheard. The Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf girls’ basketball players had creamed a hearing team from River Falls, Wisconsin. One of the hearing kids was overheard telling one of the River Falls girls, “You got beaten by people who use closed captioning!”

So much for being called deaf and dumb.

At the same NFSD brunch, I was seated at a table with a married couple, both CODA and the only hearing people in the room. As I was chatting with them, they suddenly looked at the waitress, who had asked, “Anyone here who can hear?” So they identified themselves as being hearing. Later, the waitress (who never once tried to communicate directly with the deaf customers) came back, pointed at the male CODA, and called, “Hey, you hearing man!”

So much for identities.

I had a guy come to fix our modem, which had been down for a few days. When I realized he was at the door since my dogs were barking wildly, I was puzzled – I hadn’t seen the doorbell light flash, even though I was seated right in front of it for an hour. I asked the man – who has a deaf cousin – later, “Did you press the doorbell?”

He responded, “No, how would you have heard it?” His plan, he told me, was to stand there and wave at me through the door (which has a very narrow window) until I noticed him. When I pointed out the light to him, his jaw dropped.

So much for accessibility.

I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up a couple of crossword puzzle books. While I was at the register paying for the books, I was talking with my boyfriend on my Sidekick. The clerk spoke to me, so I looked up and indicated that I was deaf by the good ole point-to-ear-and-shake-head-no. I pointed to my check card on the counter, and went back to my pager.

As the worker gave me the receipt to sign, she suddenly stopped, as if a thought had just occurred to her. “Um… can you sign… um… can you write?” she asked, making gestures as if signing a receipt. Thrown off, I looked at her, and nodded. My boyfriend says I should have given her my business card, which clearly states my profession: “Trudy Suggs, T.S. Writing Services.”

So much for overcoming stereotypes.

Happy Holidays.

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