The Expensive Interview

Do you have close relatives that cannot remember to get your attention before speaking to you, or make sure you can see their lips, or speak clearly, with sufficient volume? Every time I get together with my mother (who lives three miles from me), I ALWAYS have to say one (or more) of the following phrases numerous times:

  • I can’t hear you!
  • What was that?
  • Did you know I have a hearing loss, Mom?
  • Are you talking to me?

Why can’t she remember to communicate properly with me? It doesn’t matter where we are; her place, my place, or in public. It drives me nuts! But one time it almost drove me into the poorhouse.

After I finished graduate school, I applied for a Librarian position several hours away in Jacksonville, Florida. I didn’t trust my old clunker to make the trip and asked my mother if I could borrow her nice car. She agreed to let me use it, and took a vacation day to go with me.

Driving to the interview was uneventful, and the interview lasted a few hours. Anxious to get home, I took a shortcut hoping to shave some time off this long trip. I did this by driving through a little town called Waldo (population 821). My mother chose this time to mumble something to me, and because the road was empty, I turned my head to lipread her.

For those of you who don’t know, Waldo is one of two places in the United States identified by AAA as a “speed trap.” The speed limit changes from 65 down to 45 in the space of half a mile! The good people of Waldo have only 8 police officers who manage to write an astounding 500+ tickets each month. The revenue from these tickets covers 25% of the town’s budget.

I don’t need to tell you that lipreading and driving through a speed trap is NOT A GOOD IDEA. The resulting $200 speeding ticket was tough to pay, as I was fresh out of school and jobless. Outrageous car insurance premiums hounded me for three years following this ticket.

And I didn’t get that job.

4 Comments »

  1. Jennifer Said:

    Oh no!!! That’s terrible!!!
    My dear husband is in denial that I’m deaf, I think. He hates repeating something…and when I’m driving, if I ask him to wait a sec before I turn to lipread him (say, if a car is coming) he can barely conceal his impatience. Sorry folks…I didn’t ask for this! ;)
    Don’t you hate it when those little podunk towns use your speeding as their fund-raiser? ;)

  2. Kim Said:

    Family members are the worst about denial. We get so good at lipreading them. I have had some pretty big blow-outs with my family about this very thing.

  3. Sarah Said:

    This might be a bit off the main topic but I came across this website where people can report speedtraps and thought I’d share it. Waldo,FL is listed! http://www.speedtrap.org/speedtraps/stetlist.asp

  4. JACK IN LOUISIANA Said:

    I AM 70 AND “HEARING IMPAIRED”. I HEAR VERY WELL EXCEPT; WHEN THERE IS BACKGROUND NOISES IN A CONVERSATION OR MULTIPLE CONVERSATIONS; PEOPLE, MOSTLY FEMALE, WHO “TALK THROUGH THEIR NOSE”; MY WIFE TALKS TO ME. ABOUT MY WIFE: I CAN HEAR AND UNDERSTAND HER CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHERS IN ANOTHER ROOM BUT I CAN BARELY HEAR OR UNDERSTAND HER WHEN SHE IS NEXT TO ME IN THE HOUSE OR CAR.

    WHY? THE SOUND ENGINEERS CRANK UP THE BACKGROUND NOISES EVEN WHEN THE CONVERSATION IS IN “WHISPERS”. I HEAR AND UNDERSTAND COMMERCIALS QUITE WELL. TV STATIONS HIRE FEMALE ANNOUNCERS / NEWSCASTERS FOR THEIR GOOD LOOKS NOT THEIR SPEAKING ABILITY. MY WIFE WANTS TO AGGRAVATE ME SO SHE WILL HAVE AN EXCUSE TO YELL AT ME.

    MY OTOLIGIST SUGGESTED AN EXPENSIVE HEARING AID. I REJECT THAT. IF PEOPLE WOULD SPEAK DISTINCTLY AND CLEARLY ENUNCIATE THEIR WORDS AND , ABOVE ALL, DON’T TALK SO FAST, I CAN FUNCTION NORMALLY.

    JACK IN LOUISIANA


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