A Flash of Recognition

by Tina Blue
December 27, 2002

          Yesterday afternoon I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things.  As is my way, I zipped around the store, quickly grabbing what I needed and moving on.  I am not one to saunter or dawdle in stores.

          But since it was the day after Christmas, the place was pretty crowded, so at almost every point there was someone I had to say "Excuse me" to.

          People in grocery stores tend to park themselves hugely right in the middle of things.  You've noticed that, haven't you?  They never push their baskets or stop them on one side of the aisle or the other, but always right smack in the middle, so no one can get by on either side.  They stand for long minutes, studying every item in the meat department, with the grocery cart planted where it can prevent everyone else from getting anywhere near
.  They always block as much as possible every place they go, everywhere they stop. 

          So I get all my "Excuse me's" ready when I go grocery shopping.  I know I'm going to need them.

          But yesterday, when I needed to reach for a plastic bag to use with the package of raw chicken I had just picked up, my "Excuse me" didn't work. 

          "Excuse me," I said politely.

          No response.

          "Excuse me?" I said, a little louder, a little more firmly.

          No response.

          So I started to get a little suspicious.  Could it be?

          I touched the lady on her shoulder.  She nearly jumped out of her skin!*

          When she turned around, I said, "Excuse me," again, and pointed at the plastic bags over her head.  By this time I had figured out that pantomime was the way to go.

          "Oh!" she said, embarrassed.  "I'm sorry.  I'm hard of hearing--I didn't realize you were talking to me."

          I laughed and swept my long hair back, pointing so she could see my hearing aids.

          Then she laughed, too.

          According to one popular TV show, "The truth is out there."

          Apparently, so are the deaf people.

*If you don't know why she nearly jumped out of her skin, read "You Can't Help Sneaking Up on a Deaf Person."

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