Just a couple of weeks ago, I had my second visit from bible thumpers. The first was last summer and they showed up three times. It started out by them asking where I go for help and support. The gist of the conversation sounds like deaf people are isolated. While that’s true, we’re not hermits — at least, not most of us. At the end of the conversation (thought it’d never end), they gave me a brochure and off they went.
I looked at the brochure. They were Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was hard to tell them that I wasn’t interested as they were kind. Then they came back again. I listened to their spiel and did what I could to hurry the conversation. It wasn’t any of their business that I’m already a religious person of another faith and don’t plan or want to convert. They came back AGAIN, but my husband answered this time. I don’t know what he said to them, but he finally got the message across that we’re not interested.
Then I got new visitors from another religion. I don’t recall which this time I stood my ground and told them I wasn’t interested. Hard, but it had to be done or I would’ve endured more visits.
It’s a sad fact that many believe the deaf and elderly are easy to take advantage of. While this may be true for some people, it’s also true for those who aren’t deaf or elderly. I think that’s partially why I come across as a serious person though I love to have fun and joke around. I don’t want to be pushed around, seen as a pushover or obtuse.
Here’s one example that I learned as a management intern (not in the White House, thankyouverymuch) in my first job out of college. I worked in the human resources department where there happened to be another deaf female. Each HR person had several managers they worked with. So whenever the manager needed HR-related work, he’d go straight to that person.
Every person had a team leader they reported to. I saw the manager whose contact with the deaf female go straight to her team leader instead of to her because he didn’t want to deal with communicating with her (she signed and didn’t speak). Remember this was my first job out of college, so I learned this lesson quickly and planned to do all I could so that would never happen to me.
Hence, I came across as a serious person and took whatever steps not to show weakness as it was bad enough that appeared any time we were on a conference call or a video conference as someone had to take notes for me.