Sunday, June 17, 2007

Deaf person is often the last one to know

When I was fifteen, during a summer break, my whole family and I took a trip to England and then India. It was our first and last family trip abroad.

England was "on the way" to India, so my parents thought a good idea to stop by there and sightsee for five days then to India for three months (for my mom, my sister and me. My dad was to stay for close to six weeks due to work). Instead of motels, to save money, we stayed at an acquaintance's home in London which happened to be close to a subway station.

Boy, that flat was really dingy! The mattress on the floor was really old and sagging, not to mention dirty! I slept on the very edge of the mattress to avoid the middle part. The bathroom was not clean as well. I remember complaining loudly how shabby the place was but got shushed by my mother. My sister and I were told to be patient and tolerant.

Nevertheless, we managed for five long days. Thankfully, we were out almost all day the minute we got up in the mornings and did not return till late in the evenings.

We mostly rode subway stations around London to go sightseeing. And we walked a LOT that I lost at least 8-10 pounds in just five days!

One afternoon, while in the subway, my parents informed me and my sister ahead of time which station we were to get off. After fifteen minutes, the subway got crowded. My parents suddenly realized they had figured the wrong station and quickly informed the correction to get off the next two stations to my sister. I was standing close to my sister, oblivious to what was happening.

In haste, they completely forgot to tell me. Hence, I got off the wrong station and by the time I turned around, expecting my family to be following behind me, but instead to see the subway doors just closing with my parents panicking against the door window. They quickly mouthed to me to stay put and they would return to this station I was at.

Nodding, I calmly sat down on the bench and waited. I felt no fear or panic. Few minutes later, my parents rushed and asked me if I was "okay". They apologized for the oversight. Without thinking, they had mistakenly assumed I would "overhear" the conversation they said to my sister about the correction.

Deafness is "invisible" and is easy to overlook at times, hence mostly the last one to know what is happening.