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Between the Years

Between Light and Dark / Between Short and Long

It’s that weird time of the year (all times of the year are weird but this is more poetic, I think) when the light is short and the darkness long. I walked to work this morning and arrived before sunrise. I left for a coffeeshop just as the light was weakening, and got home in darkness (well before 5pm). Between the years!

I always think of this time between hexmas and new years as the time in between, even though we’re technically still in the year it’s been for the past 12 months. My relationship with math can be ambiguous; I don’t care. It’s still the festival of light for those who practice the Jewish faith and/or its cultural markers. Everybody and their mother is blogging, tweeting, whatever, about contemplation, reflection, looking back.

At the moment, I’m recovering from a two-and-a-half-week long beast of a sinus infection that’s led me through many stages of physical grief and self pity, as well as cost me several days of pay (the joy of benefits never hits harder than when you don’t have them, in my experience). I also watched a lot of netflix.

The OA freaked me out to no end. I mean, I lost the majority of my hearing when I had meningitis at nine months old. I nearly died. Some religious relatives and teachers treated me like one of God’s chosen, without my desire or consent. It’s incredibly stressful and also kind of distancing to hear from family members what it was like to watch me come so close to death and come out of the experience transformed (without hearing, and without sound until I got my first hearing aid). I don’t remember going through this. I know I lived through that trauma and that I’ve carried the physical/social/cultural marker that is deafness in a hearing family, community, series of schools and workplaces. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit trying to answer hearing people’s questions about “what it’s like,” (I dunno dude, I don’t know what it’s like to hear like you, though media, culture, representation all give me a good idea). I’m also cool with being deaf – it’s just the way it is. It’s not tragic, it’s not really loss, and if it makes you uncomfy, that’s on you, dude. (I’m not cool with ableism but that’s a different post).

So, back to the tv show. I was so hooked. I need to process it a bit. The way people treat Prairie as so completely strange definitely resonates. I felt envy for her character, that she can remember losing her sight, and that the experience is meaningful for her. Beyond that, there’s more but I don’t know what it is yet. There’s a lot of stuff in there about masculinity too. Gotta unpack that.

This post is about flexing my writing muscle. Didn’t have a good deal to say, but thanks for reading.

 

Analytical unemployment.

When things get me down, I get overanalytical. A month into unemployment–granted, not that long–I’ve noticed a thing. It seems like anyone might take this as a “duh, goes without saying,” thing. But for the first time in my adult life, I stopped short and thought about it.

Why is it that when bureaucratic employers test applicants for positions in clerical roles, they seem to test only for proficiency with hard copy and electronic file management, Microsoft Office (or other software), legislation, policies, customer service, teamwork, conflict resolution, and more, but not the ability to talk on the phone? In short, they test for all the things but that one thing?

In the process of applying for clerical positions, the requirement of communicating by telephone has come up in some but not all job postings. Yet, testing for the ability to communicate via telephone is not done, nor is testing for appropriate communication over the telephone. It’s just assumed that all people who may have the experience and skills to provide customer service, problem solving, and legal/policy support will also be hearing and speaking, and a specific kind of hearing and speaking.

On a personal level, I’ll not be applying for these jobs anymore, though I passed at least two levels of screening for one position before the ability to communicate on the telephone came up. It was a waste of their time and my time. I hesitated to write about it here because I hate feeling like I’m whining about a very specific example of a very large societal issue. And it’s a vulnerability thing too, oh yes. But, ah, it needs to be said, and I’m learning to talk about it more, not just when my back is up against the wall and disclosure is the only option, but because it’s an aspect of being human, no less than or more than any other. (Just like unemployment).