I always feel like a stalker when I fly.
Why, you ask.
I have this habit (good or bad, you decide) of trying to read other people’s boarding tickets so that I can board with the correct group number as stated on my boarding ticket. Then I try to (as subtly as I can) follow them. 😉
Yes, sometimes I just go ahead and board whenever because technically I’m allowed to board first since I have a “disability.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. A bit ironic when I can’t hear the announcements as to when it’s okay for me to board, eh?
Fact is sometimes I don’t want all 100+ people on my airplane to know I’m deaf especially if I’m by myself. I do not like drawing attention to myself even though being deaf naturally draws attention. It doesn’t help that I’ve had a couple of embarrassing experiences regarding trying to board at the wrong time.
What embarrassing experiences? Well, to make a long story…short…let’s just say I have been chased down by an employer for boarding with the wrong group. I came pretty close to being chased down by some security officers. Not something you want to happen in NYC just a couple of years after 9/11. Ah yes, I’ve also been pulled aside by a gate employer and scolded at in front of everyone as they board.
You would think it would be easy to lipread “group 1,” “group 2,” etc. Well, next time you travel….try lipreading the announcement when the desk person has the mic covering up his/her lips.
Next time you fly, I want you to really take the extra time to think about what you would do if you had not heard a certain announcement?
Would you know if your flight was on time?
Would you know why your flight was delayed?
Would you know if you’re going to the correct city?
Would you know if the time zone was different?
Would you know if there was problems with the aircraft or if it was just turbulence?
Would you know what the masks were for?
Would you know when to board?
Would you know why you weren’t taking off? Mechanical issue? Traffic? Terrorist threat?
Would you know which gate you arrived at?
Would you know which baggage claim?
Would you know when you’re 30 minutes away from landing?
Would you know if your gate changed (trust me, they don’t update those screens at the gate as well as they should)?
That’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I don’t feel like life is harder for me as a deaf person because I don’t know what it’s like to be a hearing person. Sometimes I do think hearing people rely too much on getting information from others. There are ways to figure out things on your own and you can rely on yourself for information.