My fugitive neighbours.

Andrew and Holly are back in our lives in an abstract sense. Yann and I were standing under the carport behind our building when we watched someone wearing a hi-vis jacket exit the rear of the building next to ours.

Something was off: who leaves from the rear door only to go straight out front? We exit the rear to take out the garbage, get to the car, or smoke. In this instance, we were doing the latter two: smoking whilst leaning against the car.

Moments later, a bright light shone in our face and I jokingly said to Yann, “Oh, it’s a cop.”

My actual guess was that it was the light from an ebike, perhaps from the demi-environmentally friendly drug dealer. BUT IT WAS THE COPS. THEY WERE BACK.

Yann waited for the light porter to announce they were law enforcement. Instead, they called out, “Are you guys Andrew and Holly?”

“No.”

Interesting how they took Yann’s word for it. Yann suggested to me that the guy who we’d seen exit from the rear might’ve been Andrew.

“Sneaking away from the cops in a hi-vis jacket?”

“Good point.”

But, it’s not like it takes much to outsmart cops here: just say no when they ask you whether you’re who they’re looking for.

What if I had been alone? I’d have noticed the light, stared at it blankly, and then get spooked when it started approaching me. My rightfully paranoid stoned ass would’ve run back inside. The cops would then get all ruffled and open fire.

Ergo, I’d bust out the cat gun:

A gif of an orange cat being used as a machine gun.

I’m not pleased about having narrowly missed a risky confrontation only because I was with someone who could hear. Sure, I’m a person of interest, but not in that way.

Ever since my workplace made face masks mandatory, my co-workers have been good about dealing with customers so that I don’t have to. Hearing people like to do this thing where they act like they’re being accommodating by asking me whether I’m able to lip read, only to go, when I respond in the negative:

Gif of Will Ferrel as Ron Burgundy saying "I don't believe you" as he lights a cigarette.

In the age of COVID-19, they go the extra mile to test me and pull down their masks so that they can spray gibberish and germs at me. Like I said, my co-workers mostly take care of customer interactions, but they also drink a lot of coffee and therefore require many potty breaks. Their potty breaks leave me vulnerable to hearing people who strongly believe in my lipreading abilities.

A few days ago, someone came into the shop looking for a conversation under the pretense of being interested in purchasing a bike. This person’s feigned patronage, I assumed, was to double as a respite from the violent downpour. I was willing to comply until he yanked his mask down to make me lip-read after I told him I couldn’t.

Impossible! He’d known a hard of hearing guy who was able to communicate verbally. I understood what he was talking about only because Yann had returned in the bike shop and was standing behind him, half-interpreting what he was saying.

This is another thing I find baffling about hearing people: they often come with strong, unfounded opinions on deafness. I am expected to take it all in good stride: “Go easy on the hearies, they don’t know any better!”

And of course, should I be the first deaf person someone’s ever interacted with, I immediately turn into their benchmark. No pressure at all!

Now, a few minutes into meeting this guy, he’s already deemed me a failure. This other deaf person he’d met could lipread and speak, so why couldn’t I? Maybe… I have different skills? I could probably fix his bike… if he had one. Instead, there I was, politely nodding as he carried on spraying particles of ignorance in my face, chipping away at my patience.

I wanted to shoo him out of the shop, but as an employee, I had to find a workaround. I handed him a paper with the address of a bike shop that fit his purported budget, then walked to the end of the shop to work on a wheel that was leaning against one of the workbenches. I didn’t know what was up with this wheel, but it was my ticket out of this unwanted interaction. Poor Yann had to figure out how to coax him back out in the rain.

I’ve asked my employer how they expect me to handle customers who get too personal, and they couldn’t give me an answer. Can I blame them, though? This has been my life for more than three decades, and I still haven’t figured it out. I mean, when it comes to dealing with the police, my first thought is:

CAT GUN.

One thought on “My fugitive neighbours.

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