“She thinks I’m stupid.” I sign. Like for most people, it is my failure for not being able to communicate with them, never theirs for not being able to understand me. Few people start from the place of congruence, so the burden is always mine as the unconventional minority to bridge the gap in communication. Winston is one of the few people I know who talks to me from a point of similarity from which there is a more equitable outcome. He is my interpreter and I have to employ him. If this woman had to employ an interpreter to speak to me, would she bother?
He is signing to me, but not interpreting any more. He tells me that she is shouting now so that I might hear her better and that she is making eye contact with Winston, so that he can tell me what she wants me to hear. He has already explained that I require a seat with a clear view of the interpreter and she is saying that it is not possible, the auditorium holds a lot of people and due to the importance of the speaker, the venue is sold out. She is saying that if my interpreter does not have a ticket then he won’t have entry.
She looks to the next person in the queue apologising for the delay with her eyes. She tells Winston that Professor Norris the eminent neurosurgeon who is making todays lecture will not appreciate the disruption of people taking their seat whilst he is speaking. She looks at all the lanyards and names she still has to process and the queue building up behind me, then at her watch. “What is your name please?” again to Winston who signs the question. Professor Norris I tell her.
(c) Steve Goodlad
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