I have a nagging concern. I have not yet reached my 30s, never mind my 60s, and yet I can identify certain elements of grumpiness creeping into my everyday personality. Naturally, of course, I want to retain my youthful hue for as long as possible, yet I catch myself having very uncharitable thoughts and frankly, in some ways, I feel jaded.
It’s not just the receptionists who don’t look at me to impart information. It’s not just the unanswered emails / messages / comment boxes. It’s not just the pithy responses I get from theatres when I bring up their access issues – the usual excuse being of course, lack of money. It’s not just the looks I get when I don’t understand something – am I stupid / special / just being difficult? It’s not the general lack of deaf awareness that seems prevalent in every corner of the UK. It’s not just the hearing world’s obsession with the telephone. It’s not just the fact that I have to organise my life several weeks in advance so I can make sure of interpreters. It’s not just that a lot of people don’t seem to understand this, and happily change academic commitments at the last minute. It’s not just the government crap. It’s not just the lack of patience some people seem to have.
It’s everything. And heaven help me, I’m getting grumpy. Maybe I just need a holiday. I propose the creation of a new holiday park – Deafland. A counterpart to Disneyland, except it’ll be completely accessible. Tannoys will be crystal clear, and accompanied at all times by matching messages on big visual screens. Staff will be helpful, polite, easy to lipread and trained to at least level three BSL. Bookings will be made via an online service – a simple one, that works. Customer queries will be dealt with via email or instant messenger. Big visual displays of fireworks, with heavy bass music and dancers. All hotel TVs will have subtitles and wifi will come as standard. Rides will be terrifying, with all safety information printed and signed. Cartoon characters in suits will either be able to sign or have ready-made notes, or accompanied by an appropriately-dressed interpreter. Tinkly music that sounds like my hearing-aids’ feedback will be banned. If I can get some Doctor Who villains to wander around as well, so much the better.
Deafland – where the magic happens!