Thursday, 21 July 2011

'am I on the right side?' Being asked the Way by someone facing the wrong way.

Strolling along, mainly minding my own business with my ipod in and heading in the direction of Leigh, on my way to the spiritualist church in Lord Roberts Avenue.  This is my Way, I was just feeling a little despondent as to what the future may or may not hold for us in September and a woman walked towards me, in her fifties, blonde, tired, pushing a buggy with a small blonde haired boy, fast asleep and oblivious to his Nan not knowing where she was pushing him!

"the right side for Leigh?"  she shouted at me. I was walking to Leigh and she was walking towards me (headed towards Southend).

I removed one ear plug.  I like to take it all in you know, the situation.  I am practising my 'situational awareness' skills.  I feel that one day they may come in useful.   

"am I on the right side for Leigh?" she shouts again

Fortunately, my comprehension skills are currently up there with the best of them and I conclude from the worn out expression and the shouting that this woman is travelling by bus.  She actually needs to be standing at a bus stop.  She IS on the right side for Leigh but she is walking the wrong way.

"Leigh is that way" I point  in the direction I am going.  As she turns her buggy round I notice her hearing aid. I face her and make eye contact, trying to be clear as she focuses on the words I am forming with my lips
I smile and nod, "you are on the right side"
"what's the other way then?"  she gestures back the way I have just come from and the way she was headed
"Southend" I say. Aware that long convoluted answers are not suitable in this situation.
I feel sorry for her, being unable to hear and having trouble with conversation and communication, what a blight.

"is this Fairfax Drive?"  she asks, somehow she is looking confused, although the situation is very simple
"yes" I raise my eyebrows and attempt to look pleasant, optimistic and hopeful
it seems to do the trick and as we walk along the road and fall in step, she gets to the bus stop and waits.

I say 'bye'.

I do not expect a 'thank you' because I am sure this deaf Nan has more on her plate to worry about than a passing stranger who knows the Way.  I tried to lighten the mood with non-verbal communication, at least I remembered the smiling bit.  I did forget however, to enquire as to why the woman was headed to Leigh.  Dang, another opportunity missed.  Although, I can blame the deafness, it is no excuse not to have a natural conversation with someone just because they have a disability.

She was on the right side.  I am reminded to stay on the right side. 

Love and light to everyone who needs it.

Tamasin x

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