This is a rant, but if it educates just one person with perfect hearing I’ll feel it was a success. I’m tired of being excluded from office chat at work, from family chat at home and from general discussions everywhere else.
Friday morning, like every other morning I work, four of us were getting ready for the day before our library opened. There’s much to do– preparation for morning story hour, counting and recording monies from the previous days’ take in fine payments, checking in books that were returned over night, processing of the daily newspapers, maintenance of the public computers before our doors open, pulling holds people didn’t pick up, restocking hold shelves with that day’s delivery. It’s a busy time of day for us. But since no one else is in the library this is also the time we chit-chat about our personal lives– things we wouldn’t want library patrons to hear. It’s not conducive to lip reading. One is stuck behind a computer so I can’t see her lips and one is unloading boxes, constantly turning around while talking. The other has her back to all of us while checking through paperwork.
For me the chit-chat sounds something like this–
“Hey!” coworker 1 enters excitedly, “blahblahblahblah! Hi Kim! Blahblah.”
“Hi,” I smile, “how are you?”
“Oh blahblah blahblahblah blah blah blah?”
Coworker 2 pipes in, “blah blah blah blahblah? (laughter between coworker 1 and 2)
Me to coworker 3– What did they say?”
No response from coworker 3, then she pipes up “Blahblaha blahblah blahhhh”
More laughter from coworker 1 and 2.
“What’d she say?,” I ask coworker 2.
Coworker 1 pipes in. “blahblahblah blah blah blahblah”
Corker 1, 2 and 3 all laugh heartily.
“What’d she SAY?” I ask, “What are you talking about?”
“Wednesday,” Coworker 2 finally explains. And that’s it. I have no idea what she’s talking about — or even which Wednesday. Last Wednesday? What happened last Wednesday? Are they making plans for THIS Wednesday coming up?
Coworker 3 says something unintelligible, then coworkers 1 and 2 answer. More laughter. It continues on like this for another fifteen minutes or so. I give up and concentrate on work. I have things to do.
Later someone will be surprised I didn’t know about blah blah blahblah, because I was right there in the room when they were talking about it. I’ll mention I couldn’t hear them, then they will ask, “Why didn’t you TELL us you couldn’t hear what we were saying?” A reminder will follow. “You should ALWAYS say something when you can’t hear, I’ll be GLAD to repeat. . .” How many times have I heard that? The reality is different.
When I go home that night, it’s the same thing. My husband and son talk about something in the kitchen while I’m on a sofa just a few feet away in the family room. I ask what they’re discussing. A one word summary of a five minute conversation follows. They’re discussing “football” or “Palin” or “Saturday night.” I don’t want to interrupt their fun, so I give up and go back to my book where I can ‘hear’ all the conversations.
I feel invisible.