Dear Abby: A masked-up society presents challenges to deaf citizens
Dear Abby: As we return to work, businesses and expanded health care are opening up after the pandemic shutdown. We all are pretty much required to wear masks anywhere we go these days.
I am a deaf person and rely on lip-reading for communication. Wearing a mask has shut out my contact with the hearing world as far as communication goes. I have been mistreated in more ways than one because masks do not allow me to lip read. When I’m not able to have a sign language interpreter with me, I bring a pen and pad everywhere I go to converse as best as I can.
I am a very patient person; however, people in the public sector are not being patient nor compassionate in helping us deaf individuals. Please understand, we are TRYING to communicate as best as we can. We simply ask the community to be patient and either lower your mask to respond, or write your response. Yelling through the mask is pointless.
— Deaf in Las Vegas
Dear Deaf: I can only imagine how frustrating and isolating this has been for you and other deaf people. Reusable transparent masks and masks with clear plastic inserts (windows) are available on the internet. (NPR has posted a YouTube video demonstration.) I would urge anyone who has contact with deaf individuals to go online and check this out. Some are marked, “Hearing Impaired.” I have considered buying some, if only so friends and family can see me in my entirety and know without question when I’m being facetious.
Dear Abby: I babysit my 1-year-old grandson 40 hours a week while my son and daughter-in-law work nights. They were paying me $80 a week, then suddenly stopped. My son said they might not pay me all the time because they often forget to “debit over” at the store to get the money for me.
I watched the baby for seven hours on Sunday, too, while my son enjoyed a day off. When I asked him if he remembered to debit over, he replied, “Debit over for what?” I said, “For my services.” He said, “Services for what?” I said, “Babysitting,” and he replied that his wife should have paid me, but she didn’t.
— Forgotten in Florida
Dear Forgotten: I’m sorry to say this, but your son is a deadbeat who should be ashamed of himself. He could pay you by check or an electronic transfer if he doesn’t have the cash on hand. If you need money, find a client who will honor the deal, which will let your son and his wife learn how expensive replacing you will be. (If you decide to let them rehire you, make sure you get the money upfront.)
Dear Abby: I want to be a good friend, but I’m at my wits’ end. A friend has decided he is going to be a singer-songwriter, and he’s terrible. He keeps sending me videos, invitations to watch him perform online concerts, etc. I have tried offering constructive criticism, which he deflects. Now he has recorded a CD, which he wants to send me at his expense. I do not want him to waste his money, and I don’t care to waste my time listening to it. Is there a gracious way out of this situation?
— Not Interested in the West
Dear Not Interested: Yes. Accept the disc, which he is sending at his expense. And when he asks you for a compliment, give him one. In other words, be a friend, not a music critic.
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