Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dammit, I'm Going To *Be* Deaf and Blind

I have an amazing friend named The Golden-Haired Girl. She has Usher Syndrome and is an unbelievable person. She is also very kind and The Titian-Haired Goddess and I enjoyed a wonderful Shabbat meal at her house on Saturday.

She informed us that on a recent trip to Ireland with her friend Charlene (I adore the name Charlene. I adore all those names spelled 'Ch' and pronounced 'Sh' so that you have Shar-lotte, Shar-lene. It's so pretty to me) they flew BMI.

"Never fly BMI," The Golden-Haired Girl instructed.

"Why?" questioned I, not comprehending.

"Well, we found out that you are only allowed to have one piece of luggage per person," The Golden-Haired Girl replied.

"And we had all these pots and pans and tons of food in order to keep kosher in Ireland," Charlene added.

"So we had to pay 400 euros for our overbaggage. That is equivalent to 600 dollars."

"Oh my God," I said, my jaw dropping.

"Yeah, she had a fit," Charlene explained, nodding in The Golden-Haired Girl's direction. "I was quite calm. But on the way back we were flying out of England. That meant we were going to have to pay for overbaggage in pounds. It was going to come out to be well over a thousand dollars. So we were sitting in the airport and lamenting this and The Golden-Haired Girl suddenly exclaimed, 'Dammit, I'm going to be deaf and blind.'"

"So I took out my walking stick," The Golden-Haired Girl explained, smiling hugely.

"And she turned off her cochlear implants," Charlene added.

"No, no, I didn't," The Golden-Haired Girl explained. "I just pretended like I didn't have them on."

"So then I went to the lady checking us in and said, 'I'm sorry. My friend is blind and deaf and I'm her facilitator," explained Charlene. "And the Golden-Haired Girl is pointing to her lips and motioning like, 'I need to read your lips.'"

"You did not," The Titian-Haired Goddess said, laughing uproariously.

"Okay, not really her facilitator, but the lady only spoke to me. And so I mimed everything while talking to The Golden-Haired Girl, like passport. I made huge exaggerated gestures and drew a passport in the air. And the lady at the booth only talked to me, not to her."

At this point in time I am dying of laughter. To me, this is like a scene out of a movie.

"And she let us through," The Golden-Haired Girl stated merrily.

"And the thousand dollars?" I questioned.

"Well, I was standing there waiting to be busted," Charlene stated, "but the lady just let us through and even though we had huge signs marked 'overbaggage' on our luggage we didn't have to pay a cent."

"No way," I breathed. "That's hilarious!"

"I knew we weren't going to be busted," The Golden-Haired Girl stated. "After all, I am legally blind and deaf. I could prove it to her if you asked. And you only get walking sticks from the Comission for the Blind so it's not like you can just use one as a prop."

"Wow," I said. "It's such a fantastic story. You took something which is normally viewed as a disability, where people pity you and you turned it into a complete advantage."

"That's my revenge on society," she laughed alongside me. "If people want to pity me, I'll just take advantage of them. I don't want anybody's pity."

I shook my head, amazed by her sheer cheek, pluck and wit. "The part I like best is the 'Dammit, I'm going to be deaf and blind,'" I stated. "This is just the kind of scene you would see in a movie. It's the kind of thing the whole audience would be laughing at, because of how you've turned the suppposed disability on its head. It's totally brilliant. Can I write it up?"

"Sure," she said. "This story is all yours."

So thank you, dear Golden-Haired Girl, for showing me that you can have the last laugh in a world that does not favor you. This makes me happy.


question said...

I'm a bit torn about this post. On the one hand, it's a great story, which is told well and is obviously about courageous people who have overcome a lot in life. On the other hand, there are posts on this blog about NOT taking monetary advantage of society and severely criticizing Jews who happen to lie for the sake of profit--especially profit related to Jewish institutions/observance. Nobody pitied your friend when she was just being herself (and was charged $600), so why take "revenge on society" in England? It seems the actions were all about saving the extra money, not a higher ideal. (It probably would have been cheaper just to buy the pots in Ireland and leave them there, in any case.) For this reason, I'm a little troubled. Any thoughts on this?

Chana said...


You're right that it is not something that I would have felt comfortable doing when in that situation due to my own standards. However, since my friend is indeed deaf and blind, I cannot say what she did was misleading so much as figuring out a method that could potentially work to get her off the hook- kind of like apologizing to a police officer (or flirting with him) in order for him not to give you a speeding ticket. The lady at the booth could definitely have booked them on the thousand dollars- she just decided not to do so.

Anonymous said...

To question,I suppose if we are walking down the path of honesty the Golden-Haired Girl did say she was "legally" blind and deaf. Society and the powers that be have deemed her to be so. That being the case, she never lied about it.She and her friend also apparently never asked for special monetary consideration in the matter, so.... now we can move into ethics.Was this ethical? I consider it more of a big prank from them than anything else. In life there is a big difference in playing the game to one's favor, and total outright fraud with intent to harm others which many have sadly engaged in. "Jews who happen to lie for the sake of profit"? First of all no one just "happens" to lie in such cases, it is usually a well thought out scheme by persons who have fallen prey to the Yetzer and greed.Cheers

question said...

Thank-you for clarifying your thoughts on this matter. B'hatzlacha rabba to you and your friends.

Stubborn and Strong said...

For anybody who think I did wrong, just think about why i gave permission to Chana to write the story. Beside being funny but on bottom line


See them like they are normal because we suffered a lot from society and if you decide to pity on us, (notice this is threat) we will take it and take advantage of you. Only way to not being advantage by us, treat us like we are normal with special needs.

Anonymous said...

Sortof the way I feel when I use Grandma's car with her handicap plates.

Stubborn and Strong said...

But you are taking advantage of someone's disabilities and you do not have it?

You are not only one, I heard that so many times but that is somewhat more damage because people with handicap need that space to be close to area.

I just tried this lady to be my favor and not taking away from anybody's space and didn't ask this lady to not charge us. I was depending on this lady's pity. I know how human works.

Dana said...

oh stubborn and strong, i adore you :)
and i pity those stupid people out there who don't see you for who you are!

Tamar said...

Mostly, I'm scratching my head wondering, if you're blind as well as deaf, how are you going to see the mime and lipreading? And if the woman behind the counter couldn't figure that one out, then take her for all she's worth.

Stubborn and Strong said...

Tamar, you have no idea how people are naïve out there but at same time they overestimate people with disabilities.

You will find people who using walking stick with glasses because they are legal blind not blind but people think they are complete blind.

Also once deaf comes up, people speak very loud, if I am really deaf I won't hear a thing! If I said hard of hearing, they still speak very loud but they should speak CLEAR! If I said cochlear implant, they still don't believe I hear!

These people I deal with almost everyday...

Shades of Grey said...

Interesting story. I know someone who had a pet chiuhuahua/poodle mix named Charlene...