The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Today’s Deafie tells us about an incident in the street…
One day, I went shopping to my local Tesco.
I was walking back to my flat along the high street, laden down with three or four heavy bags when I paused at a side street to check for cars coming. An electric wheelchair pulled up beside me.
I moved aside slightly to give them more room, checked for cars and crossed the side road. Suddenly, my bags on one side were barged out of the way as the electric wheelchair zoomed past me, its middle-aged male occupant turning back to glare at me as though I were a piece of dirt.
Confused, and trying to work out what I had done to deserve this, I watched as he trundled up the street and very soon, all became clear.
He hadn’t got ten feet before a small family was in his way. Suddenly they reacted, saw him, and moved aside for him, all smiles and “aren’t we nice for letting the disabled man through” and he waved at them jauntily as he went by.
I realised he must have called out to get their attention. Hearing him, they moved aside.
He must have called to me to get my attention and ask me to make room. Except, being deaf, I didn’t hear him.
Rather than checking to see if I was wearing a hearing aid, he had clearly assumed that I was ignoring him, and was therefore the scum of the earth.
I’ve had this from able-bodied people, but more fool me, I thought that disabled people would know better, that deaf and disabled people would be paying a bit more attention.
I couldn’t believe the arrogance of the man, who clearly thought it was his god-given right to have people move out of his way immediately, and who had clearly made an assumption based on the fact that I hadn’t heard him.
I was furious and I nearly, so very nearly, abandoned all my shopping and ran after him to have a damn good row and remind him that not all disabilities are obvious. Only the fact that I couldn’t face having to go back and pick up all my shopping after I’d confronted him stopped me.
But do you know what, sometimes, just sometimes I wish I’d just said ‘sod it.’
I really do.
Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email email@example.com
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about the Deaf fashion bloggers taking on the world!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Cast Theatre, Doncaster: The UK's the UK’s first fully BSL integrated pantomime
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people