Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bus Riding Lessons

I used to ride the bus to work. I worked at the mall. Put those two things together could easily make one assume that life was miserable. However, put them together with the fact that I was 19 years old and living in Hawai'i at the time...and all of a sudden you aren't feeling sorry for me at all. I don't feel sorry for me either. However that didn't mean that the bus ride was not without its ups and downs.
[Or working at a mall for that matter]

This one night in particular, I had left work late, for whatever reason, and I was going to have to catch the last bus out. I was a little bit worried, deviating from the normal routine, but it was just a matter of going from Pearl City to Waipahu. Having just arrived on the island a month or two prior, I didn't have anyone to call and pick me up. Our car hadn't arrived yet, so bussing was the way around.

So, I boarded the bus at a different time than I normally would. Just slightly off schedule. This really made little difference except for the fact that public transportation is highly unpredictable in whom you will be sharing the ride with.

It being late, and I not wanting to be bothered, sat down by myself and stared out the window to watch the scenery go by. A short 20 minute bus ride free of bother was all I wanted. It had been a long day afterall.

So, when a group of passengers began getting rather loud and obnoxious I decided to ignore them. I wasn't trying to be mean, I just didn't want to be bothered, and to be honest, I was still very green to the island and somewhat nervous. [And it was written all over my haule face]

That is when I realized that the very large man sitting across from me was trying to get my attention. A very large man accompanied by several women who weren't wearing much and what they were wearing was made of spandex and sparkles.

"Hey You...hey...hello."

*turning towards him after a moment or two and then pointing to myself as if to say 'who me?'*

" what's your name why? you ignoring me sweetheart?"

*Thinking to myself: dang, he caught that I was ignoring him...okay think fast...make a hand signal*


*make another hand signal, indicating that I can't hear-brilliant*

"OH", his face cracks into a big smile. "You are deaf..Okay..."

*I turn away...thank goodness he'll leave me alone now...only 15 more minutes I'll be home and not have to deal with Tiny and his gaggle of 'ladies of the night'*

Then I feel a tapping on my knee and then he waves in my face two inches from my nose. I turn to him and he starts signing to me, while talking about the fact that his cousin is deaf and he knows sign language very well.

Unfortunately, I don't know sign language.

And I spend the next 14 agonizing minutes writing out how I lost my hearing about a month ago and I am still learning how to sign, but I am good at reading lips. And the sad thing is that all of the scantily clad women sitting around him are watching me as though they have just found the city transit retard as he points to my eyes and says "Look she is reading our lips" and I smile and nod like an idiot, pretending along with the lie that I wove.

After this I avoided staying late at work, and not too long after our car arrived. Thankfully I never saw the guy again...and even more importantly I never lied about having a challenge that I don't really have. Quite honestly, I have enough challenges without taking someone elses. But the most important lesson learned was coming to a conclusion on how I would treat someone who did have a genuine disability.

And that was definitely to not stare at them, or treat them as though they offer less.


At 01:34, Blogger desertUndine said...

What a tuff situation - I wouldn't want to talk to the guy either. At least you learned something from the experience. It does make you wonder what it would be like to be deaf - how people must treat you. You've got me thinking.


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