The peak of my summer.

“YANN!” I yelled from the top of a mountain.

I don’t like using my voice in public. The deaf accent is mocked globally. Imagine not getting to experience a part of yourself that the public gets to experience? Then the result of your efforts to accommodate others not only goes by unappreciated but gets ridiculed!

But it wasn’t the time to be insecure about my voice. I was near the top of Mount Albert Edward, alone, and without water. I had seen Yann just a few minutes earlier: he was busy massaging a water purification tablet into a Nalgene bottle filled with snow. He had also run out of water, and our solution was to thaw last season’s snow.

Continue reading “The peak of my summer.”

Going up island to go up some rocks.

Very little is required to present myself as a cyclist. First, I need to decide which of my two bikes I want to ride. Secondly, I need to take the chosen bike outside. Next, I straddle the bike. Finally, I go nowhere in particular and then return!

So much more is involved in climbing. I’ve pulled on plastic for ten years, climbing only indoors because getting to the crags requires a car. To go to the climbing gym, though, I still need to find someone to accompany me. Preferably somebody who likes me, but most importantly, somebody who I can trust to not drop me. Then, this special somebody needs to have a work schedule that does not conflict with mine. I need to know only one type of knot, the figure eight.

To climb outdoors is an even bigger challenge. Other than a car, I would need at least one climbing partner who knows how to build and clean anchors, as well as lead climb and belay. I would have to get used to reassuring my friends and family that, yes, I will be careful. There’s a surprising amount of knot tying knowledge needed.

A photo of Laura from 2009 shows her clad in black tank top and capris. Her left arm is
Top roping outdoors in 2009.

 

Continue reading “Going up island to go up some rocks.”

Fleeing the island by bike.

Passengers of the 7pm Wednesday sailing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen were treated to a spectacle. People rose from their seats and flocked to the front of the boat. I happened to be seated at the front, so I took the cue and got up for a better look. It was a beautiful sight, the sun was shining, and the boat was squeezing in-between the Southern Gulf Islands. A lone crew member was on the deck, resting his arms on the railing, but I was fairly sure he wasn’t meant to be the spectacle.

Some of the passengers migrated to the starboard windows while others returned to their seats. Curious about what had just happened, I tapped a message on my phone and showed it to the woman seated across from me, “I am deaf, I have noooooo idea what just happened.”

Continue reading “Fleeing the island by bike.”

Experiencing street harassment as a deaf woman.

Since entering my 30s, I’ve learned how to receive compliments. I have also learned that compliments are often used by men as bait to get women talking to them. For some, paying a compliment entitles them to a woman’s attention.

A plus of being deaf (as deaf as I am, anyway) is being blissfully ignorant of any catcalls that are sounded my way. For these volunteering their opinions about me out loud, not getting any reaction out of me must be maddening. It’s glorious.

On occasion, some bozo tries to override my inability to hear by following me.

I’ve been in Victoria for five months, and it’s already happened three times. Most recently, I was sitting on a bench scrolling through social media, getting annoyed with people on the internet, when I noticed a shadow cast over me.

Continue reading “Experiencing street harassment as a deaf woman.”

Stealthy, like a fat cat.

After being reunited with my phone after it spent the night in a Park Tool caliper case at work, I slipped it in my jersey pocket and prepared my bike for a long ride. Monday was a civic holiday: BC day. It was fitting that I had the day off while Yann, a Québecois, had to work.

It was going to be a warm day, so before leaving, I made sure to freshen the cats’ water dish. I waved goodbye to Bubble who was tucked into a cat loaf on the couch. Enfoiré, our round son, was neither on the couch nor in the cat tree. I checked the bed: not there. On the fridge with his front paws hanging over the freezer door? Nope. Had he slipped into the washroom without me noticing and was now gnawing on the plastic shower curtain? No.

In under 24 hours, I had lost my phone AND eighteen-pound cat!

Continue reading “Stealthy, like a fat cat.”

Forgetting to remember.

“That guy looked like Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” I remarked about a customer who had just left the bike shop.

Yann shook his head, “I don’t remember that movie.”

“You watched it with me! As soon as I show you a photo you’re going to be like, ‘Oh! Oh! I ‘member.'”

How convenient is it to have a smartphone on hand to jog somebody’s shitty memory? Except for when your garbage short-term memory causes you to forget where you put your phone.

Continue reading “Forgetting to remember.”