What can we expect from others?

Jelly’s blog has a very interesting post and discussion asking what can we expect from co-workers. It’s something that has interested me for some time. Not just for work but in life too.

Can we expect someone to help us, to be accommodating and help us hear? How far does that expectation go?

Can a person in a wheelchair expect another person to hold a door open for them, can they expect that the building’s owners have installed devices so that they can open the door themselves? Can they expect public washrooms with decent sized cublicles, grab rails, a flush that can be reached?

Can a blind person expect someone to help read a notice to them, if they read braille can they expect that the notice will be in braille too?

Can a deaf person expect suitable accommodations?

What can I expect? Hope for? Just be bloody grateful for anything? How grateful should I be? Should I tip my hat all the time saying thankee thankee? Some days it feels like I spend my whole time thanking people. Thank you for speaking so I could hear you, thank you for repeating yourself, thank you for writing it down, thank you for including me in the conversation, thank you for not answering for me, thank you for making that phone call for me, thank you for telling me the fire alarm was sounding, thank you for not treating me like an idiot.

I have stayed with friends, now ex friends, who wouldn’t put the captions on the TV as they were distracting for them. Fair enough, but they also got annoyed when I sat and read instead of watching the TV with them (I was in the same room, not sulking in my bedroom). They also had a relative who was partially sighted staying with them for part of the time I stayed with them. They were happy to describe what was happening on the TV to her. They were happy to turn the lights up so she could see better, but not to turn them up so I could lipread better. Maybe they didn’t like me.

I have had people refuse to help me at work with phone calls, they said it made more work for them. At work some people will avoid talking to me as its too hard, or they will walk further and ask someone else the question rather than talk to me. Is it because I am stupid, or horrible, or worthless?

I have had people bash me on the arm when they felt I wasn’t listening, not a gentle touch to get my attention, a bash, or sometimes a jab.

I have had people who don’t believe that I am partially deaf, who tell me “oo you heard that all right”

I have had people answer for me when I haven’t heard the question first time round.

I am deaf, not bloody stupid, though I think deafness has locked up my intelligence.

So, what can I expect? What’s reasonable?? Is helping just decent human behaviour? Or is it a burden, an obligation, something I should be grateful for but not expect to happen. Should I just be grateful that I haven’t been humanely destroyed for being a defective human?


5 responses »

  1. Wow! What a powerful post. I have often thought since becoming aware of my own hearing loss that I have probably been oblivious to many other people’s struggles. For example, I have a coworker who uses a scooter to travel and she has made me more aware of the obstacles unthinking people place in her way.

    I guess we can’t expect others to read our minds and know what our needs are. I guess we can expect to have to speak out on our own behalf knowing that we won’t always receive what we need. Expressing gratitude to those who “get it” seems reasonable to me. Understanding that most people we encounter won’t “get it” seems wise. Working for change and accomodations for all who need them seems like a path to hope.

  2. That was a powerful post! You bring up so, so many good points.

    All we can do is keep working towards making a change and making people aware and remember we will not be silenced by what we need, our accomodations.

    Oh and the link doesn’t go to my blog, it goes to a hearing aid website! lol some message board. But, thanks for the shout out, I do appreciate it.

    Always remember you are special and people who don’t see that or if you have moments where you are down and think low of yourself…well, to hell with it!! You are worth so much, hearing or not and you know it!

    Really was a fantastic post.

  3. I am genuinely grateful for all the help I get. A friend uses a wheelchair and I am amazed at the crap she has to put up with, both from building design and from people. The caring sharing world is really a cruel unthinking place.

    This is one of the reasons why I will offer to give presentations on hearing loss whenever I can. To try to educate people on how to help, to try and show a little of how it is.

    Somedays it gets me down, the hassles, the having to be nice to someonee you would rather strangle. But you have to be “nice”, you have to be overly nice otherwise you are seen to have chip on your shoulder.

    I guess today is one of the days when it gets me down.

  4. Interesting questions there, Mog… and very thought provoking.

    Basic answer for now until I think more… I suppose my expectations vary, depending on context.

    Recently, I’ve discovered that a lot of my frustration with this, and many other aspects of life, has been expecting “just decent human behaviour” from people who are simply not decent human beings. It’s so obvious now…

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