I am excited to bring you another guest post from another fabulous Deaf friend of mine. She is a mom, runner, teacher and she recently received her doctorate degree. Which is pretty cool even if your aren’t Deaf but being a Deaf women and accomplishing such a feat is just outstanding. Today she is asking, “Is it the Deaf Think of Not?”
A few weeks ago, I was at the local grocery store with my four year old daughter. I had more than a couple of things in my cart while the man behind me was carrying only a package of hot dogs. I let him in front of me in line. When it was his turn, he told the cashier that he was going to pay for my groceries (a little over $50 worth). I guess he knew that I didn’t hear him and proceeded to tell me what he was doing. I protested, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He said I was so nice. I don’t know what he meant by that. Was he truly appreciative of the very small gesture? Or did he notice my hearing aids and wanted to help in his own way? Or did he assume that I was a single mother because I was not wearing a wedding band (I can’t wear jewelry on my hands as I am allergic)? I don’t know. I never asked.
I have had my doctorate for over a year now. There were several people at my former place of employment who refused to acknowledge my credentials to me or other people. To them, I was always “Ms.” but not “Dr.” Was it because they were jealous of a Deaf person getting her doctorate from a Big Ten School? Or was it because I was female or perhaps younger than them. I don’t know. I never asked.
My four year old gets her stubbornness from me. I love that quality in her, except when she’s throwing a temper tantrum in a public place. Sometimes I see other people staring at us with disgust. Was it because they knew that I was Deaf? Or was it because they, as parents, empathized or as non-parents, wish I would control my child? I don’t know. I never asked.
I don’t know and I don’t ask, but I always wonder. Maybe it’s my psychology background. Maybe it’s my natural curiosity in people. Why do people behave the way they do? Were they having a bad day and they were projecting on other people? Or did they just wanted to practice a random act of kindness and I happened to be at the right place at the right time. Or maybe the opposite – they have their own insecurities and I happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Regardless the reasons, being Deaf, I can’t help but wonder if my Deafness has anything to do with it. I do, after all, treat hearing and Deaf people differently and it is not that I’m prejudiced against one or the other, but because they are two different cultures. Perhaps, being as aware as I am, I can’t help but wonder what other people are thinking or why they behave the way they do. Is it the Deaf thing or not?