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View Diary: This Is The Kind Of Discrimination I've Faced (258 comments)

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  •  there's a waiter at a local breakfast joint (11+ / 0-)

    and while I have not asked him directly, he wears two enormous hearing aids and has that slight, subtle flatness to his speaking voice that can come with learning to speak while coping with a hearing disability. He always gets my order right, and we exchange a few words about life in Santa Fe, the football, the normal banter between customer and waiter with no problems. The restaurant uses a bell-and-light system to let the wait staff know an order is up.

    Back in the day, I worked for several years at a bean-sprouts and beer joint in DC. Gaudelette college was not far, and the place became a hang-out for some students because we had one bartender who could sign because he had a sibling who was deaf. The rest of us picked up a few simple signs, we exchanged notes with our deaf customers when needed, and a good time was had by all.

    At the Baltimore Sun newspaper printing presses, several printers who ran the big machines were deaf, and they always seemed to get the job done, in the overwhelming noise of the printing plant, their ability to communicate with sign was a plus, not a minus, when applying for the job.

    My dad lost almost all hearing in his left ear and partially in his right ear - he was an artillery gunner in the European theatre during WW2. The injury wasn't even considered an injury back then, but he could no longer play his beloved trumpet as well as he did before the war, and it broke something inside him that never was healed. (On the plus side, he never told me to turn down that damn rock and roll music, since he'd have to crank up his Muddy Waters and Louis Armstrong records to 11 to enjoy the music despite his hearing loss). Maybe that made me more willing to learn a little of the challenges and lives of deaf people. I never assumed because someone was deaf or had a speaking impediment that they were also mentally deficient, I just tried to take the time to listen, watch and find ways to communicate with people.

    Thanks Slink, for this diary and your 'wild child' diary, both are beautifully written, and full of honesty and heart. May your words reach far beyond our little corner of the universe here at the Kos.

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