Going on from my previous post on 6 challenges facing a deaf person on their solo travel, I thought I’d give you a funny and optimistic view of what benefits there are facing a deaf person on their solo travels! Here are some of them!
1) Better seats – ‘hello sir, welcome to our airplane company, I see that you are disabled, here’s a better seat and you get the chance to board first.’
Okay, they didn’t exactly say that but here I can cunningly get better seats. After dealing with my passport and boarding ticket, I would ask if there’s a disabled benefit on getting on. Usually, they offer the priority boarding ticket so I can get to choose a seat to my liking (ideally the one with the biggest leg room) on the pretence that I ‘really‘ need to find a seat where I can watch the safety demonstrations clearly and responsibly.
Shock, horror you may gasp. How dare I take advantage? Actually, would you like to come with me to the best seats? I can designate you as my ‘carer‘. I ‘really’ need to have someone to tell me what the pilot is saying over the tannoy or wake me up should there be duty free come round (whatever, I ain’t buying your expensive perfumes, you’re messing with the wrong Yorkshireman!). In the past, I’ve had many friends happily go along with the charade.
2) Free tickets – sadly not the flight tickets. (when booking my RTW flights, I asked if they could do me a discount as I’m disabled but they said no, damn).
However, at many attractions around the world, they offer disabled people free tickets, actually rather the carer a free ticket, the carer is there to help the disabled have a great time. So when I go to these places, my friend would receive the free ticket and both of us would split the cost of my ticket so really we both get in for half price! Woo woo!
3) A means of getting out of harassment – if someone is annoying me trying to sell me something or trying to get my attention, I either ignore them on purpose or simply point to my hearing aid. They get the message and walk away thinking I can’t understand them. Ah, the luxury of people’s ignorance!
4) Getting out of paying for things – I admit that I have done this on occasion.
You’re running for the train and you’re late. You haven’t time to buy a ticket at the station to you can get a discount deal. But buying the ticket on the train is full price and deadly expensive.
So sometimes, I fake it.
I curl up in my seat and pretend to be asleep. Now if a train ‘revenue protection officer’ comes to ask to see your ticket and sees you are asleep, he would loudly shout at you to wake you up. He can’t physically wake you up due to sexual harassment fears so he has to use his voice instead. But therein lies the loophole. I’m deaf and ‘asleep’ so I can’t exactly wake up to a voice can I? So off he goes on. In the past this has worked, but with the rise of ticket barriers at the arrival stations means that I need to have a ticket. Damn you! Or perhaps that time when I completely ignored the ticketman on purpose and walked past him at the arrival station chatting on my phone!
5) Not admitting I’m wrong! – if there has been a situation when I got something wrong, for example getting the wrong time for a group of people travelling to catch a bus, then I may use my deafness to get out of a sticky situation. ‘oh sorry, I thought the vendor said 7 instead of 11. Oh well!‘ unfortunately, I can’t exactly use that excuse after having the amazing cochlear implant so I should hear the subtle differences in words.
6) It’s a puller – people seeing me deaf brings out the protective instincts in them. They want to look after me and do things for me because I just ‘quite can’t do stuff’. Ignorance again I guess, but it doesn’t stop me being pleased!
7) Now, ready for the best advantage? – Uninterrupted sleep – especially in hostels!
I’ve had many backpackers complain of others barging into the room making a racket or perhaps people using the annoyance that are plastic bags first thing in the morning thus waking them up from their fitful sleep.
Me? I won’t hear a thing.
I have no need for the grotty earplugs; out pops the hearing aid; out comes off the cochlear implant and I can lay there fast asleep in deep silence while drunken revellers shout at the top of their lungs. Ah bliss!
This happened in Uganda when I was completely fast asleep while everyone around me was freaking out when the bats broke into our hut and started chomping on the mosquito nets. I was blissfully unaware throughout!
However, it does have a drawback, what if there’s an alarm in the middle of the night? I guess I’d better depend on the kindness of my new friends then..if I haven’t annoyed them with my chat up lines!
So what do you reckon to these advantages? Am I very cheeky? I’m sure there’s plenty more on the way!