Thursday, January 22, 2009
Will Accept Money to be Talked to Condescendingly
Sometimes, especially lately, I've thought about how cool it would be if I could do short comedic video podcasts about what it's like to be a person who's unable to speak and uses communication assistants in order to interact with family, friends, and the general public.
Yesterday, I was having dinner with Mom, Motria, Alison, and Sarah. We were celebrating Barak Obama getting elected. (Yay!) And, we were all chatting and eating and having fun.
Well, at one point, I was trying to tell Motria something but she was sitting across from me and, thus. it was difficult to do. So, I looked beside me at Sarah, who was my delegated employee/communication assistant/compadre for the evening, and signalled to her that I required her assistance to communicate with Motria. Seeing that Sarah was munching on this huge mouthful of salad, I gave her a moment to swallow. And then, I laughed and spelled out on my communication board: "I guess I can't talk with your mouth full."
Well, then, today Lenny and I were finishing up our snacks at Tim Hortons, this woman came over to our table and started talking to Lenny. At first, I thought the woman was asking Lenny a question pertaining directions to the subway or somewhere. This was not the case.
The woman was asking questions about me, as if I was an inanimate object or something. Was Lenny a family member of mine, or perhaps a care giver?
This type of situation has happened to me all of my life. People either talk down to me as if I'm a child or they talk about me to another person because they think I'm deaf. It's annoying, but I'm used to it. Most times I just ignore this type of situation, as this happens to me almost daily and it would take too much time and energy to educate every person that needed it.
And yet, there are times, like today, when I just have to speak up! With Lenny's assistance I told the woman, "I can hear, I'm the employer and friend of the person you are talking to. Please show me the respect you're showing my friend and talk directly to me."
The woman listened to my impassioned speech and then said in a loud, very enounciated voice, "Last year you came to my store..." (here she paused and asked Lenny if "she can hear") "... and I purchased Christmas cards from you. I'd like to give you the money from the sales now." And, with that, she placed $20 on the table and rapidly fled the scene.
Boy, egg on my face! One of the few times I speak up for myself and it turned out to be a customer (perhaps a former one now!) who had gotten cards from me. Hilarious!
I, of course, took the money and ran. Being on ODSP, I take any free money I can get - I need to eat after all! I'm not proud.
And, by the way, during this entire interaction I was extremely high. I don't usuually take my pot chocolate very often, but lately, because my back and neck have been giving me excruciating pain and I have bad sores on my upper back and thigh from my commode chair, I've been taking a bit extra to numb the pain.
Such is life ....
Anybody have a video camera?