The Secret Deafie: The waitress who walked away before getting an answer

Posted on May 28, 2012

The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Today’s Deafie tells us about two examples of the treatment she received from waitresses in a restaurant.
I have two stories to tell you.
Firstly, I was staying in a hotel with several people, mostly hearing, though some could sign, and we went to the hotel restaurant.
The hearing people were chattering away amongst themselves, so I confess I wasn’t paying 100% attention to my surroundings. The main meal had just been served and I was tasting my chips when one of my friends got my attention.
Due to the background noise drowning out my hearing aids and my tiredness, all I picked up from them was “mumble mumble mumble tomato sauce?”  I replied:”Pardon?”
As I said “pardon,” in my peripheral vision, I saw the waitress walk away. I replied to my friend that I was actually waiting for the peppercorn sauce for my steak. “Yes, but would you like tomato sauce as well?”
I hadn’t really wanted tomato sauce, but somehow the knowledge that the waitress, who had to have noticed I was deaf (due to my hearing aids) unless she was blind as well as impatient, had walked off simply because I hadn’t heard my friend, before getting an answer to a simple question, gave me a craving for some tomato sauce.
When she came back, I made a point of asking for tomato sauce but I was so polite I’m not sure she even knew she was being subtly rebuked. Maybe I should have kicked over a chair and demanded equal treatment in all things no matter how seemingly minor. After all, how hard is it to wait 20 seconds to get an answer? If people can’t even be bothered to do that, where does that leave us?
But that wouldn’t be very British would it?
I didn’t leave a tip.
I was in a restaurant with friends. It was going nicely, and we were signing a birthday card for a mutual friend. We were onto desserts, and I was having some very nice waffles with belgian chocolate sauce and cream, which I was about halfway through when the card came around to me to sign.
Bending to my work and trying to think a suitably thoughtful and witty yet brief comment to write, I suddenly noticed that my waffles were levitating away from me.
Springing into action, I grabbed the plate and gently eased them away from the waitress who was trying to take them away with noises of protest of “hey, hey, hey, hey” and lowered them firmly back down to the table. I realised I might look a bit mad for grabbing my waffles back, but the waitress simply smiled and said “sorry.”
Well, I should think so. What’s wrong with tapping me on the shoulder to see if I still want my waffles? Which I do, thank you very much. Belgian chocolate sauce? Hello?
Note to waitresses – note the hearing-aids for heaven’s sake.
Don’t try and take my waffles away.
Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email
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