A Series of Interesting Guesses

If there could be one thing I’m envious of hearing people, other than being able to talk on phone and enjoy music, it’s to eavesdrop other people’s conversations. Like when I’m in the airport, waiting for my flight in a hub, I get curious what they are saying. Or at a bookstore and I’d pretend I’m reading a book but actually eavesdropping someone’s conversation. I suspect this is how hearing people become well-versed in English while we deaf people have to rely on a lot of reading to catch up.

Today, I went to Barnes and Noble bookstore to use up my giftcard someone gave me for my birthday. I bought this book titled “Neither here and there.” by Bill Bryson, about his travel experience in Europe. Wow, I really want to go to Europe so badly. Bill Byson is definitely my favorite author; something about his writing that totally captivates me and how much I can relate to his thoughts. As I was reading, I froze upon this paragraph and made me wonder that perhaps it’s not so bad I cannot eavesdrop people’s conversations.

“When I told friends in London that I was going to travel around Europe and write a book about it, they said, “Oh, you must speak a lot of languages.”

“Why, no,” I would reply with a certain pride, “only English,” and they would look at me as if I were foolish or crazy. But that’s the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don’t want to know what people are talking about. I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”

Except mine is a lifetime on a series of interesting guesses. :-)

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9 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Pam

    Wow. Deep. It sure makes me to think about it now… they want to guess/not to eavesdrop, and we want to hear what they are talking about in those hallways. How opposite. We are blessed after all.

  2. natech

    Yeah, it’s like this quote, “the green is greener on the other side of the fence.”

  3. buzzair

    Thats pretty cool. Interesting guesses…I had to make a few of those when I was travelling through Europe.

    One of those “interesting” guesses had me checking a different track for a train to Rome because they changed the track number and I didn’t know.

    It lead me to jump on a slow moving train that I almost missed.

    Had I been able to understand the annoucement that the track change took place, I wouldn’t have been able to experience my train jumping Indiana Jones move. :)

  4. buzzair

    Btw…I see you have a picture of Tusker Beer from Kenya on the flickr. That beer is great! Thats all I drank when I was over in Africa. Thats what my dad drinks when he was working over there for 10 years.

    Am thinking of buying him a case of it from Beers of the World someday. Maybe fathers day..hmmm..

  5. Yeah I dig that. Bill Bryson *making a mental note* ok, gotcha.

  6. natech

    the-Indiana-Jones-jumping move? Haha cool! Sure makes our life more interesting. Is it really true that Europeans understand gestures better than Americans? thus, making it easier for deaf people to travel in Europe?

  7. natech

    Yeah, that Tusker beer is not bad. My friends and I discussed that it’s pretty light, making it more suitable for hot weather like Kenya.

    Good idea about buying a pack for Father’s Day. Sounds like a good plan. :-)

  8. buzzair

    England was the friendliest, but they speak english too so it wasn’t that much of a challenge.

    It depends where you are…in Spain, Barcelona the crusty old men who were running a resturant we went into wanted nothing to do with trying to help us understand what the food was made out of.

    In Paris everyone was snooty to the tourists, but the South of France was a lot better. However the dude running the hostel spoke english lol

    Italy seemed a little better. Friendly service and A LOT of gesturing to help us understand the menu and to chat with us.

    I guess it all depends on who you run into. Just like in North America, some people are comfortable gesturing and trying to communicate with deaf people and some are not.

    So I wouldn’t say that Europe as a whole is more deaf friendly than North AMerica because they gesture more to eachother.

    Laing can add his two cents to this. He travelled the rest of Europe whereas I had to cut my trip short in Italy

  9. natech

    Sigh, when will I ever get my feet wet in Europe and see these topless women… ain’t going to be any time soon, probably not till I retire first. :( Btw, I just finished the book; I’m gonna buy all of his books. It’s so good and educational! Now I’m reading the People’s History of the US. Looks good.

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