I am on day 10 of recovery. The scabs down my legs have partially fallen off, revealing fresh, glossy pink skin. My arm, however, remains an open wound: A soup of plasma, fat, and regenerated skin. But that’s not what’s kept me from making my triumphant return to work. On the evening of my accident, I had that familiar tickle at the back of my throat, signifying an incoming cold.
The absence of a fever and the fact that it took about a week before I started coughing have me believe that it’s an old-fashioned common cold rather than COVID-19. The belated coughing, I feel, is a sign that I’m recovering. With an overloaded immune system, I’ve become one with the couch.
When Yann came by on Monday to drop off a few groceries, he asked me whether my roommate was tired of all the “leg dragging” I was doing. “Probably. But I think he also understands.”
“Leg dragging” is an in-joke that came from the first time Yann encountered a description of sound effects in the form of captions when we watched Deadwood together years ago. It’s doubly funny, Yann insists, because the dragging of the character’s leg wasn’t even audible, yet the captions were like:
Tragically, my sniffling and coughing are audible and, as a result, have isolated me from people. I’d been so deprived of human contact that I couldn’t convince the cashier at the grocery store to let me buy mangos erroneously marked as avocados. The pair of mangos had been shrink-wrapped to a foam tray and topped off with a sticker that read “AVOCADO $2.99”.
I did not place this ill-packaged produce into my shopping basket, thinking they were avocados. I wasn’t counting on this to rattle the cashier as much as it did. Upon checkout, the cashier eyeballed the packaged mangoes with a confused look and started to speak. I gestured that I was deaf, ready for her to do one of the two things: 1. Let it slide and scan the packaged mangos as marked, or 2. Repeat herself.
She opted for #2. I typed on my phone, “I’m deaf. I know they’re not avocados. All the mangos have been packaged like this.”
She spoke again. As desperate as I’d been for human interaction, I wasn’t in the mood for this kind of interaction. I typed on my phone again: “I’m deaf. It doesn’t matter how loudly you speak: I cannot hear you.”
She pointed to her mouth, “Can you lipread?”
I don’t need to lipread. Just let me pay for my fruit.
She continued to speak. Yes: immediately after I told her I could not hear nor lipread. WHY IS THIS GETTING COMPLICATED? I JUST WANT MY MANGOS.
I gesture for her to write. “These aren’t avocados,” she explained on a blank piece of receipt paper.
I held up a finger, ran over to where the pseudo-avocados were, and snapped this photo to prove they were all packaged like the one that had befuddled the cashier up the wazoo.
Not only do I know what mangos look like, but I also know these are the Ataulfo variety.
The cashier wasn’t letting it go. She continued her mangosplaining ways. That irked me so much that I picked up the pen and receipt paper that she’d abandoned to remind her, “I’m deaf and can’t lipread.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she began before trailing off verbally.
These mangos were so ripe that I could smell them through the shrink wrap. I was ready to fight bits of slippery mangos from escaping my fingers as I prepared to devour them. I was willing to have mango nectar leak down my arm, saturating the bandage stuck over my wound. Those sweet slippery bastards are among the most challenging fruits to eat, but I was up for the task.
Instead, my biggest obstacle was this cashier who couldn’t understand how to communicate with me even after I proved my literacy.
Finally, I wrote, “Forget about the mangos. It’s not worth the hassle.”
What a fruitless trip to the grocery store that was! Who’d have thought my deafness would be a BARRIER TO GETTING FRUIT?!
On a less-fruity note, I’ve been reading Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk. Here’s my favourite quote from the book so far:
“The deaf shall inherit the earth.”