Sorry for the lack of blog posts! I have a couple of ideas up and running, just been too busy to get round to writing them!
I’ve officially started full time employment as a marketing apprentice and fair to say I am enjoying it!
It’s not my ideal job or charity that I’d like to work with, as my ideal career would be with a deaf charity or possibly a retail based job, but it’s all good for the experience and opens up many doors.
The staff I work with are all lovely and have been understanding of my deafness. They look at me everytime they speak, which I really appreciate. The problem is, I sit at a desk with a computer in front of me, and my colleagues sit either side of me, as well as someone opposite me. It’s always so hard to understand the girl opposite me as she also has a computer in the way of her lips. Due to this, I’m always leaning up on my chair to try and read her lips, even though I try to ask her to either move to the side or look back up at me! One day I’ll eventually fall off my chair if I keep doing this! Additionally, another colleague was trying to get my attention by waving his arms around like mad! I thought he was doing a workout! I had to politely tell him not to embarrass himself and that he could just tap me on the shoulder if he wanted to talk to me! Bless him… Another colleague was speaking to me like I was a two year old, she was enunciating very slowly and repeating everything three times, when I very clearly heard her the first time! I think eventually she realised that everyone else was talking normally and gave up over-exaggerating her speech! I really think my workplace would benefit from some deaf awareness training, so I will try and get my Teacher of the Deaf on board with me to do it! Also, the office is quite open-plan so it’s not as easy to have a Roger Pen or microphone as the sound bounces off quite a long distance and it doesn’t always work for one to one conversations. Not forgetting the background noise of the printer, people talking, computers whirring etc which explains why I find it difficult to understand my colleagues sometimes.
So I have to take the train in to work every day now, like a proper commuter! It’s fairly straightforward as my local station is quite small. However as I have to buy my ticket on the train, I always worry that I won’t be able to understand the ticket inspector, or that my disabled railcard won’t work! For example, the other day I didn’t realise my card had expired and he was trying to explain it to me! Because I didn’t understand, he let me get away with it! Woops… The train I go on is pretty good as it has an electronic scrolling banner which tells you what stop is next. I wish they had that on all trains! The downside is that the announcements are over the radio and I cannot hear them, which is a worry for us deafies as it could mean that we miss our stop which could be next, or if there’s a problem on the line, health and safety announcements etc. I do think there should be another similar electronic banner which has written announcements. Similarly in train stations, when they announce what platform our trains are on, how are we supposed to know? (unless we read the departures board) In some cases, they could change the platform via announcement, while we’re on our way to the original one and we wouldn’t even know! The worst case scenario for us deafies would be getting on the wrong train, being charged for it, but also missing the right train! Similar cases in airports, as they can change the gates quite frequently via announcements and us deafies wouldn’t have a clue what’s going on!
Just thinking about those who communicate with BSL, if there was no interpreter when purchasing tickets or asking for information, how can the ticket inspector or any other member of staff tell the deaf person what’s happening?
Yesterday, I was waiting for my train and there was a sales guy come up to me to advertise his company… I didn’t really know what he was saying, so I just told him that I wasn’t interested and he walked away! I hope I didn’t offend him but I don’t think it would’ve been very interesting anyway! Once I boarded the train, I noticed a lot of disabled people got on and they went to find a seat somewhere else other than the priority seats… I was wondering whether it was because the people already sitting there didn’t offer to move, or just because the disabled people wanted to sit where they liked?!
I was discussing with my colleague who was interested about whether or not I liked family or friends telling other people that I was deaf. My opinion is, that I will introduce myself to the person normally, and have a conversation, without mentioning my deafness. If I ever feel the need that they’re not facing me, if they’re speaking too quickly or if I can’t understand them, then I will tell them that I’m deaf. The reason being is because I don’t want to introduce myself like: “Hi, I’m E and I’m deaf”, because it feels like a label. Not only this, but people might feel anxious or unsure how to communicate with a deaf person. Although, if I bring it into the conversation later, it will show them that I can communicate just like everybody else, but I just need to lipread. This often eases the pressure a bit. My nanny introduces me to people like: “this is my granddaughter and she’s deaf”… which again, it makes me feel like I’m a ‘thing’, a disability, a label etc… What’s wrong with saying – “this is my granddaughter and she’s 18, she likes…”, then explain the deafness? Of course, I’m proud to be deaf, but in some situations I feel it’s best to leave my deafness out unless it’s compulsory to explain.
I still have to write a blog post about my holiday whenever I get a chance so bear with me!
If you are on Twitter or Facebook, please do follow me for more updates around the current deaf campaigns, issues and recent blog posts! I’m particularly interested about Doctors surgeries and subtitled cinema showings!
Love E x