I’ve not blogged for a while, and probably shouldn’t be indulging in this pastime now because I have a deadline coming up. But as we all know, deadlines are great at stimulating procrastination. I shall therefore proceed to spout an anecdote I’ve been saving for a rainy day.
A while back I was at a social event (a common occurrence, despite the fact that my job involves trains) when a friend explained that a friend of theirs was to join us. I responded positively to this news, at which point my friend leaned in and said “they’re…” accompanied by some form of gesture.
“Sorry?” I said.
My friend leaned in again, repeated the gesture and said: “they’re…”
At once I understood. The person who was to join us was deaf. “Ahh” I said, smiling and nodding knowingly.
But when they joined us, I began to have my doubts. They didn’t seem to have any difficulty in hearing what I was saying as I introduced myself. I tried to subtly ascertain if they were lip-reading or wearing a hearing-aid and concluded that they weren’t. Given that my attempts at subtle aren’t always successful they probably wondered why I was looking at them so strangely, but nothing was said.
The evening continued well, but there remains an unanswered question. Just what was my friend trying to communicate? It was a while back now, and even if it was appropriate to bring it up in conversation, what would I say? And what if I need to be sensitive to something when I meet the person again?
As the saying goes, loose gestures cost lives…