A ride home
Tuesday August 31st 2021, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I walked in the door and told my very tall husband, That was bizarre. And if you had come with me I don’t think it would have happened.

I’d gone to do a quick run to Trader Joe’s, and while I was loading up my car, there was a woman I’d say in her early 20s standing nearby, looking around, with a backpack that I registered as being full of groceries she’d just bought. She was wearing the sweatshirt of one of the local universities.

She stepped forward and asked me a question. Since one wears masks in public here, I couldn’t lipread: it took her three if not four tries.

Turns out she needed a ride home. Near the high school my kids went to? Sure, that wasn’t very far, I’d be glad to. (It would have been a very long walk, but in a car, no big deal.) But I made it clear that I’m quite deaf and I was really going to need help getting her to the right place and she would have to be loud to help me navigate it right.

She asked me where I lived and I waved offhandedly in the opposite direction and said it didn’t matter.

She was from a demographic that has not been treated well the last few years in particular, and she was young and female–I have no doubt I looked safe and it was probably a relief to her to find me, and indeed, I was feeling protective of her, given that it was going to get dark soon.

We made conversation as best we could as I drove.

She asked me how many grandchildren I had, then couldn’t help but exclaim, Six?!

She asked me what I did before I retired. I smiled at that. I told her I had always planned to go back to work after my kids were in school and the first day my youngest was, I was rear-ended and it took me several years to recover from that accident. (I didn’t say, or the worse one half a dozen years later.) And I was hit with a major autoimmune disease. (Two, but one only inflicts so much information on acquaintances.) I had plans, I told her, but life kept happening to me–and it’s okay that it did.

I told her my one claim to fame was that I wrote a knitting book that was #1 on Amazon in its category for awhile.

She thought that was so cool and immediately looked it up.

I told her, You don’t have to do that, no worries!

She wanted to. As I pulled over, she wanted to pay me for the ride, and I said, You needed help and I could do it, so, that’s what you do when you can. You’ll find someone who will need your help later.

And then.

She tried to open up and tell me a little more of her own history.

While I sat there wholly inadequate because I couldn’t hear, when this time she clearly really needed me to. She tried, she got frustrated, I immediately sympathized with her and said I was so sorry. She was immediately sympathetic back and glad I wanted to hear her out even if I couldn’t–she was a good soul, whoever she was, and I hope life turns out really well for her. But I got enough to know that it’s been rough of late and she didn’t know where to turn.

I tried to think fast of the best way to tell her where to find whatever kind of help it was that she needed, but in the end all I knew for sure was how to be the deaf grandmother who went out of her way and wished her the best and was glad to offer a stranger a ride home. To show her that other people cared.

She had me move forward a bit more and stop in front of a different house, and I said I always wait to see women get safely inside their homes–but then I figured out pretty fast she wasn’t sure she wanted a stranger to know where she lives. And that’s okay. And so I let her be and drove on.

My sweetie considered all this and had some concerns; I told him, I did, too–and yet: I’d do it again. Someone needed help, I could help, so you do.

4 Comments so far
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So GOOD of you. And here’s hoping things go well for her.

Comment by Margo Lynn 09.01.21 @ 7:12 am

I share your sweetie’s concerns. I understand the desire to help, but it was so risky!!! Glad it turned out ok.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 09.01.21 @ 9:45 am

Sometimes it just feels right to take the risk. Sometimes it turns out wrong, but it always turns out feeling wrong when your intuition says take it but your brain overrides it. So I get it, and I hope I’ll be brave enough when it feels right to me.

Comment by twinsetellen 09.01.21 @ 10:13 pm

This occurred to me last night but I had to check with friend.

A friend of mine’s mom lost her hearing, pretty suddenly and profoundly. Hearing aids are not an option. Cochlear implant is, but her mother doesn’t want to bother. In her 80s.

They use an app. Live Transcribe by Google. When the app is open it picks up words and some sounds and translates them to text for her to read. It’s mostly how Patty communicates with her mom these days.

Now apparently this app was initially for Android but it looks like there are now iOS versions. When I googled I found hearingtracker.com/opinion/otter-versus-live-transcribe-for-ios

So obviously if you’re driving you don’t want to be reading the transcription, but it occurred to me that you may more often be in situations where you can’t understand and/or lipread through a mask, and such an app might be a great help.

Comment by Debby 09.02.21 @ 12:27 am

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