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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Miscommunication (and a Brantley-ism)

I went to the local grocery store yesterday, where shopping is a pleasure. Smiling faces greeted me everywhere I turned. However, as I was checking out, I noticed my groceries being bagged by an unfriendly individual. As luck would have it, she had bagged my groceries the last three times I was there, and every time she had refused to speak to me. She had been standing two feet away while I made friendly small talk. I had smiled and thanked her for bagging my groceries, and the most I ever got out of her was a half smile. This was unacceptable to me. I considered complaining to the manager, but I never got around to it (read: chickened out).

Here we were again, and this time, I was determined to make her talk to me. Without offering to take out my groceries, she headed out the door with my buggy and my kid. “Perfect,” I thought. She would have to talk to me now. The silence of the stroll to the car would be too awkward to stand. “What a nice day,” I said. “Sure is warm. Are you having a good day?” I said everything I could think of and, as the silence continued, I got angrier. She placed the last bag into my trunk, closed the door with a half smile, and walked away without a word. I was over it. “Unbelievable,” I said aloud. Had the manager been within sight I would have complained, but Luke was tired from shopping and we were all the way to the car. “Next time,” I thought. “He will get an ear full from me.”

Later that day, I went to Verizon Wireless to have some work done on my Blackberry. As I sat on the bench and waited my turn, who should I look up and see, but the same girl from the grocery store. Imagine my amazement when I realized she was communicating with her mom completely in sign language. It turns out that she hadn’t been ignoring me at all, but rather, that she is COMPLETELY DEAF. Woops. This brought deeper meaning to the slogan, “Can you hear me now?”

The highlight of my day came later when I explained the whole ordeal to Brantley. Missing the point, as usual, he responded with, “Why would a deaf person need a cell phone.” Oy.

What had started out as anger had turned into humiliation, guilt and finally laughter thanks to my husband. It had been a full circle day, and thankfully, I had not complained to the manager. There would have been NO coming back from that.