“Can we go the bridge way? Please?”
When I was growing up, there was more than one route we could drive to my grandparents’ house.
But only one included going over a bridge.
Every time, my sisters and I asked my Dad to drive the bridge way.
And every time (or possibly nearly every time – allowance must be made for ‘the good old days’ memory), my Dad pushed the thought of the car’s undercarriage from his mind.
So every time, that poor car had to heave us over the bridge.
Not being a fan of my family’s propensity to assign names to cars, I can’t recall his/her/its name.
But he/she/it definitely slowed down as we approached and then ascended the bridge.
Reaching the top was the best part for my sisters and me.
We loved the way going over the top caused our tummies to do summersaults and we giggled all the way down the other side of the bridge.
NB I doubt the same can be said for the undercarriage of he/she/it.
I assumed the old stone bridge had been there forever.
Then one day, amidst the giggling rush down the other side, I realised that it probably hadn’t (eureka).
I turned and looked through the rear window as we drove away.
Two sides of a river were joined by a bridge.
My imagination took the bridge away.
Now the two sides were not connected at all.
How had people built a bridge between the two?
Before you think this is going to be a ‘Reader, I became an engineer’ tale, I hasten to say that I probably have the least engineer-like brain on this planet.
If I built a bridge, I would personally put up a sign: ‘Do not cross.’
If I built a real bridge, that is.
But I have realised that river banks are not the only things that need bridges between them.
Here’s how, I’ll give you a clue.
Four letter word (nothing rude!), begins with ‘N’, ends with ‘E.’
Assume that people are nice.
It’s not rocket science (told you I wasn’t a real engineer) but, seriously, this is my top tip.
Wading in defensively, as we often do when we are unsure or people don’t understand where we are coming from, or not wading in at all but defensively expecting other people to, often results in that same defensiveness being returned.
If, however, I am as nice as I can be, 99.9 % of people are nice back.
And if they are not, I try and tell myself there must be a reason.
So, whether there is or not (and there usually is), I’ll just be nice anyway.
I was once advised (ok, instructed) that three words should never pass my lips:
‘Sorry I’m deaf.’
Because I should not apologise for who I am.
Well, since confession is good for the soul and all that, I admit that I ignored that advice.
I frequently allow those words to pass my lips: how frequently depends on how many people I meet in a day.
Sorry I’m deaf.
No, I’m not apologising for who I am.
I’m acknowledging the fact that things will be a little more tricky, and may take a bit longer, because I can’t hear.
Sometimes, we don’t have to pretend that everything is fine.
It’s ok to say, this will be difficult.
But I’m going to try and make it a little less difficult by not pretending that it’s not difficult.
Because we’re worth it.
Sorry I’m deaf.
I’m also going to make it less hard by taking away the full stop (https://www.emily-owen.co.uk/2016/05/03/blog-post-example/).
And replacing it with; ‘….but we’ll be fine if you speak clearly/write it down/etc.’
Whatever full-stop-replacement works for you in your situation, deaf or not.
And I’m pretty sure it will work.
As it does, as we both slow down and inch, from our opposite sides, towards the middle, we’ll get there.
Did you notice what’s in the centre of our four letter word?
(N). I. C. (E).
When we meet each other halfway, the light comes on.
We have opportunity to see where the other is coming from.
And we start to connect.
And our tummies do summersaults and we giggle and we have fun and we meet people who are
(N). I. C. (E).
Can we ALWAYS go the bridge way?