The Secret Deafie: The day I found myself on the hearing man’s side

Posted on February 21, 2012

The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Our first contributor* tells us about an unsavory incident on a bus home…

A few weeks ago, I was on a bus home with my girlfriend when a man in his mid-30s wearing hearing aids got on.

Both of us hadn’t seen him around before, even though we’ve lived in the same area for years. He walked through the bus before sitting down a few rows behind us.

A moment later, I looked round and just then, I saw the deaf man sneeze, heavily, twice.

Then the hearing man sitting next to him said something . I didn’t lipread exactly what it was, but he had a friendly look on his face. It looked like “bless you.”

The deaf man wasn’t looking at him when he said it, so he couldn’t see exactly what he said. But his reaction was to suddenly look up at him, angrily, and shout “I’M DEAF!” Everyone on the bus looked round.

The deaf man then got up in a huff, shaking his head, before sitting in the empty seat behind them. The hearing man looked mortified and a bit confused about what had happened.

As we got off the bus to walk home, I realised something.

This was the first time I’d ever found myself on the hearing person’s side.

*Transcribed by Editor Charlie Swinbourne from BSL.

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