September 5, 2007

Peeping Tom

I remember when I was young, it bothered me that I couldn't easily be part of a group. I couldn't follow the quick-paced jabbering well and be an integral part of activities like the other kids would. All I can really say about my school experiences is that I was there. I saw it, but it was like watching a movie or reading a book - I always an outsider...a witness, a spectator, but never one of the characters.

Lipreading is notoriously unreliable, and while some deaf people can lipread beautifully, I can't. So, unless it's imperative that I know what's being said, I've taken to the backseat. Instead of struggling to follow a conversation, I focus on the overall picture. Body language. Snippets of conversations. Tone. Expressions. It's not that I don't want to be a part, but rather, it's become a habit. I've grown to like being an outsider looking on in the window. It's become a comfortable mantle, and provides me an unusual perspective most people don't have.

As result, I've run into some unusual people and situations over the years. A friend of mine, KR (using just initials to maintain anonymity) can attest to this.

A poor example comes to mind. I had just moved to D.C., and was on my way home from my (then) new job. As I approached my metro station, a woman drew my attention -- along with several other passerbys. In her 40s, she wasn't well dressed which isn't unusual for D.C. What caught our attention was she was standing at top of the escalators, screaming, wailing and sobbing. I wish I had a digital camera then, it made for a lonely image -- people walking past, either staring at or ignoring this poor woman. Were people coldhearted, uncomfortable, or blind? Probably all of above.

For your viewing pleasure, one of my favorite photos from Long Island Beach (May).

2 Comments (Click here to comment):

Jen September 5, 2007 at 11:27 AM  

Yikes, that post turned out to be more morose than I intended.

Julian September 5, 2007 at 4:08 PM  

You should have ended it with a smiley. That always makes things less morose. For example:

Today I came home, and found my kitten had drowned itself in the toilet. =)

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