When Having A Disability Is Quirky

, , , , , | Working | November 13, 2019

(I go to a reasonably large yoga studio consistently four to five times a week. There is one class that I never get to go to since the instructor always teaches the course before my usual one. My general instructor and her TAs have a retreat, so the instructor that usually teaches the prior class becomes the sub for my usual class. I am naturally excited since I have heard good things about her and am excited to try it out. I will also add that I have single-sided deafness; I am deaf in my left ear, but my right ear is perfectly fine. I do have trouble distinguishing what the instructor is saying with loud music. This becomes important later. When class begins, I notice that the sub doesn’t ask the usual question about if anyone has an injury or anything that the instructor might need to know about. The sub just jumps straight into class. As we do our warmup, she goes to the CD player and turns on relaxing music. It is louder than usual, but I excuse it at first because there are no lyrics and I need to strain a little bit harder to hear the instructor, but it should be fine, or so I think. We go to a difficult move. The instructor plays The Beatles “Ob La Di Ob La Da.”)

Sub: “Now sing along to the music! Now, next, make this move…”

(Great song, but I can’t hear the instructor. So, I flag her down. She comes over).

Me: “Can you lower the volume of the music, please? I can’t hear out of my left ear.”

(She looks genuinely upset. She stomps over to the music and lowers the volume down significantly. The rest of the class, she throws daggers at me with her eyes. So, after class is over, I go over to her)

Me: “Hey, sorry about earlier. I do appreciate it. I can’t hear out of my left ear, and I had trouble hearing you.”

Sub: “Oh! Don’t worry. Everyone has quirks. Just be more considerate of others next time.”

(I am shocked and stand there as she just leaves. I become furious, so I find a comment card and write what happened so I can pass it on to the manager. The manager is gone because the class ended after they left. I write in plain letters that being deaf is not a quirk, and not making reasonable accommodations is against the law. Luckily, I get a call from them the next day, and they agree to have a stern talk with the sub. I see the sub two days later before my usual class, and she wants to talk it out with me one-on-one.)

Me: “I hope you do understand why I got so upset.”

Sub: “Yes. Do you usually take [Instructor]’s class?”

Me: “Yes. Now, I do hope you understand why I got upset.”

Sub: “That’s weird. Most people who go to [Instructor]’s class come to my class and say her class is harder than mine.”

(At this point, I just gave up. She thought that I complained about class toughness and not making reasonable accommodations. One of the many lessons that people with hidden disabilities learn is that making reasonable accommodations means that we are lazy.)

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That’s Just Insulting To Cake

, , , , , | Right | November 4, 2019

I was working at a children’s “fitness” gym, but it’s more like a play place with slides, a ball pit, and things to climb on. I was doing a camp, which is mostly free play for the kids. The camps are usually three hours long, but you can also pay for just an hour if you want.

A man walked in with his daughter and asked if she could play for an hour. The man didn’t say anything weird at all, but his shirt did read, “I Eat P**** Like A Fat Kid Eats Cake.”

He decided to sit there for the entire hour and watch his daughter play, when he could have left. I’m just super glad that no other parents showed up during that hour to see that shirt.

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This Boss Actually Gives A Crap

, , , , | Working | November 4, 2019

(I am cleaning out the locker room, which involves taking all of the towels out of a towel bin and bringing them to the washing machine. At the bottom of the bin lies a human turd. I run out of there as fast as I can to talk to my boss.)

Me: “Uh, [Boss]?”

Boss: “Yeah?”

Me: “Well, there’s a turd in the locker room towel bin.”

Boss: “Oh, God. Come with me.”

(We walk to the locker room.)

Me: “What should we do?”

Boss: “We gotta clean it up.”

(He looks in the bin.)

Boss: “I’ll clean it up; you don’t get paid enough to do that.”

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Dojo No No

, , , , | Friendly | October 25, 2019

This happened a few years ago when I was a newbie to Aikido. For those unfamiliar with this martial art and important for the story: there is zero competition. No tournaments nor friendly matches.

One session, I was paired with a more experienced guy and although he was more experienced, he was a difficult student. Not sure what his beef was — I’m female and maybe he wanted to impress me — but when it was my turn to practice the move shown, I was suddenly on my back. “You’re doing it wrong.” Rinse and repeat a few times and I was becoming seriously fed up and frustrated with his attitude. Suddenly, I noticed an opening. The next time, I didn’t concentrate too much on my move but was checking if I was right. He was indeed opening up for a counter-attack that I, with my limited knowledge, could exploit and I took back control. He was thrown halfway the tatami — exercise mat. When he returned to his position, he boasted that he knew I was going to do that, but suddenly, he was much more cooperative and allowed me to practice without further fuss. 

Writing this down, I don’t know why the sensei didn’t intervene, but at least the guy didn’t cause any more trouble.

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Not The Type Of Flexibility You Need In Fitness

, , , , | Right | October 21, 2019

(I’m working at the check-in desk for the fitness center of a community center. The center is undergoing renovations which include new ID cards and protocols for members of the center; previously, they would show a membership card to the check-in desk and the attendant would let them in. Now, we need to scan the card to verify that the membership is current. We are told there are no exceptions to this policy, although if a member forgets their card we are allowed to look them up by name to verify the membership. The following exchange occurs after some general niceties; up until this point the customer has been mostly normal and friendly.)

Me: “May I please see your ID card?”

Customer: “Why do you want to see my card?”

Me: “I need to scan the card as part of our updated security procedures.”

Customer: “What if I forgot it?”

Me: “That’s okay; I can look you up by name for today. However, we would appreciate it if you would bring the card in the future.”

Customer: “What if I forget it next time I come in?” 

Me: “If that were to occur, we could look you up by name next time, but we really would appreciate you bringing your card when you use the fitness center.”

Customer: *suddenly belligerent* “NO MAN WILL EVER WANT YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE INFLEXIBLE!”

Me: *stunned*

(My coworker who had been present for the entire exchange jumped in and started explaining that these were the fitness center’s policies, not my personal policies. The following day, we were informed that this member was the exception to the rule and we should avoid requesting his card. This development was made even more strange by the fact that other customers with bad behavior were not handled the same way and were even brought into the membership office for a stern talking-to!)

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