It has been a really heavy week this week. An all out war has erupted between Deaf Australia and Deafness Forum. On this Forum it got personal and nasty, even silly. Basically it was a territorial argument. Two bodies wanting the same thing and one wanting to be the body that says it rather than the other, quite farcical really. BUT enough heaviness. It’s time to LTFU … and yes the F is an obscenity. This opposed to HTFU. Deafness isn’t all heavy and nasty. In fact it can often be quite funny so I am going to LTFU and have a little giggle.
Yesterday I was in Brisbane having breakfast. I was staying at a hotel and I love hotel breakfasts. Bacon, poached eggs, fruit and NESCAFE coffee … the Nescafe was a bit of a downer. Nevertheless it was a yummy breakfast. In the restaurant they had a large rear projection television. Kochie and Mel were on. I am a fan and I wanted to know what they were talking about today. There were no captions though. BUT I spotted a digital set top box on the top of the TV AND the remote was there. Being the assertive guy that I am, I wandered over to click on the captions on the remote. As I picked up the remote I spotted the waiter out of the corner of my eye. She was clearly telling me to leave the TV alone. I, of course, ignored her.
Of course I didn’t hear what she was saying but I imagine it was something along the lines of “PUT THAT DOWN” Anyway I found the captions and turned them on. I turned round to the waiter who was giving me deathly and dirty looks. She was side on so could not see the TV screen. Anyway I beamed her a lovely smile and beckoned her over to have a look. She took one look at the captions and moved to turn them off. Apparently she thought something was wrong with the screen. I imagine she said something like, “I WILL TRY TO FIX THAT BUT PLEASE ASK NEXT TIME. ” But anyway I took the time to educate her about captioning and how to turn them on. She looked at me, still unimpressed, but thankfully left the captions on. As I left the restaurant for a taxi to the airport I thought to let her know how to turn the captions off .. but didn’t. Hopefully they will still be on this morning and I hope the waiter didn’t stress too much trying to work out how to turn them off.
I love the mistakes that hearing people make about deafness. You know the people that ask the deaf if they use braille and the like. One time I had an argument with a training provider who would not provide me with interpreters for his training. I pointed out to him that if he was going to provide training he had to make sure I could participate. After all, my work was paying him good money for me to be involved. For about a week we argued about who was responsible. ( all by email) He would not budge. His argument was a classic; “LOOK!” he typed in bold, thinking dramatics would have effect, “ When a guy in a wheelchair does my training he brings his own wheelchair, therefore you should bring your own interpreter.” I emailed back asking if he thought I should take the interpreter to the grave as well – the joke went right over his head. He replied, “I am sure their will be people at your funeral that will appreciate it.” Or perhaps the joke was on me?
Many years ago I actually went to University. It’s such a distant memory now. Spending most of my time in the University bar most likely is responsible for University being nothing but a haze now. I used to go to University with massive hang-overs. They were often so bad I would put my hearing aids in my pocket so as to avoid any unnecessary noise. I often took a short cut across the University car-park.
One cold morning I sauntered across the University car-park. I was wearing the mandatory overcoat of the University student, purchased from the Salvos for $5.00. My hearing aids were deep in the pockets. As I sauntered, trying hard to ignore the pounding in my head, a car pulled in in front of me. A lady got out and proceeded to hurl abuse my way. It was very clear that she had been driving behind me and I was in the way. She probably had been honking her horn but I was oblivious to it all. She called me an “Idiot” among other things. Screamed at me to pay attention to what was happening around me, called me arrogant and a few other choice words that I was unable to lipread.
Anyway I was having none of this. I looked at her directly narrowing my eyes to slits. I reached slowly into my pockets. She looked at my eyes and she looked at my hands reaching into my pocket, she looked mildly frightened. Slowly and deliberately I took my aids out of my pocket and slipped them into my ears, making a play of switching them on and adjusting the volume. Once all was to my liking I asked if she could repeat what she had said. She went bright red. I expected her to apologise. Instead she called my an, “Irresponsible arse-hole.” and stormed off. Nevertheless it was a very sagtisfying moment and perked me up no end.
Sometimes I think we take ourselves far far to seriously. As the war rages between Deaf Australia and Deafness Forum I urge you all to look on the bright side of life. The bickering and the pure petty mindedness of events this week has left a sour taste in many of our mouths. BUT we are supposed to LTFU and LTFU we will. I end this jolly little piece with the immortal words of Eric Idle from Always look on the Bright Side of Life:
Some things in life are bad, They can really make you mad, Other things just make you swear and curse. When you're chewing on life's gristle Don't grumble, give a whistle. And this'll help things turn out for the best. And.... Always look on the bright side of life, (whistle) Always look on the bright side of life, (whistle) If life seems jolly rotten, There's something you've forgotten, And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing. When you're feeling in the dumps, Don't be silly chumps. Just purse your lips and whistle, that's the thing. And... Always look on the bright side of life. (whistle) Come on...