It was pointed out to me recently that maybe I should vent more, let things out instead of bottling it up. Funny really as I think I am always raging on about something or other but then it occured to me that I hadn’t made any Mrs Deaf and Angry posts on here for a while. I ‘m not sure why but I would guess that it’s because I am feeling tired, jaded, still stuck in that boggy mire , beyond anger. It’s time to vent a little.
My chosen subject is around telephones which are a recurring bogey in my deafened life.
I’ve become used to not being able to sit and gossip with a girlfriend, to ring and hear a familiar voice when you need it. My mum is deafened too and sadly it’s a long time since we have been able to phone each other. Instant messenger has filled some of that gap but only a few of my friends and family will use it to talk to me. Some take the time to email me but it really isn’t the same as a conversation That toing and froing, the action and reaction, the immediacy and intimacy of a few words of no importance. Some people will text but that doesn’t happen since I have been in Canada. The people I know here seems to have their cellphones switched off most of the time, and if you do send a text the cellphone providers can lose it for hours in the ether.
The phone calls that I have needed to make at home have either become a job for MLM or I have used email. My dentist’s offices email me, they have no trouble doing this. The bank can’t cope with the idea at all. Doctor’s appointments- no email help there. Querying bills, cellphone plans, all have to be done by phone so MLM does it all. We could have used a typetalk/voice carry over phone and I tried one for a while but it wasn’t worth the expense when the CI was imminent.
Anyway, now I am learning to hear again and should be using the phone more to practice but it doesn’t happen. I should make myself ring people up for a chat but I’ve forgotten the social niceties of how you do this and I’m still scared of the reaction of the person I call.
The worst thing about not being able to use the phone for me is being removed from the decision making process. In theory a phone call with someone helping me should happen thusly; I speak, explain that I can’t hear their reply, and then pass the phone to someone else who will relay the caller’s words to me. I then take the phone back and speak to the caller again. What happens is that the helper invariably takes over the call, makes the decisions and excludes me.
Exclusion is the important word here. Excluded from making decisions, from thinking, from interacting, from equality. I can stand there – and this has happened very, very recently – and have something that I was involved in was discussed but I was not consulted.
Not important enough? Not worthy? Not what?? Just let me crawl back into that wormhole that ‘you’ think I should live in. ‘You’ can hear and I can’t, this doesn’t make ‘you’ any better than me, it doesn’t make ‘you’ any smarter either.
I’d like to ‘you’ to slow down to when ‘you’ speak to me, and use less slang too. Did you know that deafened people’s brains take longer to process the words? That’s because our brains have to work harder to make out what is being said. Just because ‘you’ have to talk slowly doesn’t mean that I am a half wit so don’t treat me like one. Oh, and making jokes about having to speak slowly? Well that’s just harassment and discrimination. I hate having to ask people to slow down, repeat themselves. I worry about imposing, about asking others to do something for me. So that witty little joke at my expense is just going to make me worry more.
Then if you factor age into all this, well I may as well not exist for many people A deaf and middle aged woman, what’s she worth? Not much it seems. Invisible, stupid, slow. Not worth putting yourself out for. Anything I ever learned is wasted, no one wants to know what’s inside my head, but that’s another rant.