How are you all today?
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Today’s blog is about a funny incident that emphasizes my Deaf-Blind nature! I’ll tell it as it happened, then explain it more in depth at the end.
If you are an avid reader of my blogs, you probably will remember a blog that I wrote about my habit of standing roadside at bus stops so that I don’t miss the bus, and have time to read the number as it approaches.
With that in mind; recently I was waiting for a bus to come home from being out and about. I was standing, actually leaning, on the bus pole, minding my own business as I watched the cars zoom by; waiting for the right bus to come along. I had my white cane prominently display, with red tape strips, I’ll explain later. I also had groovy sunglasses on and a ball cap; typical Blind Man style!
So, I was just leaning on the pole, minding my own business, watching the oncoming traffic, both foot and vehicular. I looked to my left and noticed a tiny Grandma waving at me. I look down at her, and give her a “what” shrug. She gestures me to step away from the pole, you know: gesturing “come this way” hand wave. Oh sure! Perhaps she wanted to see the schedule that is on the pole. So I obliged and sauntered a few steps away. This sort of request has happened to me before, as I stand blocking the schedule on the pole.
After a few seconds, glanced back at the pole to see if she was finished looking at arrival times, instead, she has returned to her cart of groceries under the shade of a bunch of trees.
Obviously she was not interested in read when the next bus arrived.
My expression was probably “puzzled” because she pointed to the pole again. I am a little lost because I can’t think of why she wanted me to move away from the pole, until a light bulb suddenly goes off in my head! I was leaning against the verbal bus announcer button! Oops!
No wonder she didn’t want to read the information on the pole! My butt was activating the Next Bus for about 10 minutes!
Talk about Butt-dialing!
Embarrassedly, I gestured “Me Deaf” and sheepishly stood behind the pole!
This bus stop pole is for Metro Vancouver’s year-old Rapid Bus. Here is a picture of the pole:
At the top of the pole has Real-Time visual announcements. Then the list of stops for the Rapid Bus. Below that is the list of other buses which stop at that stop. Below that is the schedule for Rapid Bus. THEN, below that is the verbal announcer button on an accessible, raised print/braille rectangle. It is not really drawn into the picture above, its about three free off the ground. It is on one side only.
Why is this a Deaf-Blind moment? Well, isn’t it obvious? While I leaned against the pole, unaware that I had activated a steady stream of “Next bus will arrive in…”, I can’t hear the constant squawk of these announcements, nor the pleas or shouts from bystanders asking me to move away. Nor could I see the button, which I knew was there, having seen it before!
I am thankful for the Grandma who came and waved me away from the pole; thank you for not grabbing me! I’m sure, if it were the case, any other bystander would have yanked me away from the pole, thinking I was either drunk or ignoring their pleas to step away from the pole. After all, they were being driven crazy by “The next bus…” being heralded for 10 minutes at least. While I was immune to the repetitions. Other people would have acted more forcibly! Maybe even waving down a passing police officer, if one was spotted.
Now, I stand behind this specific pole; I can still see the oncoming bus, and people are not driven crazy with “The next bus…” monologues of an unaware Deaf-Blind person! In other words, I am now aware!
Good day to you all!
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