So today my family went to Deaf Expo/Nation. I was home sick. Before they left my husband and I were laughing about our first time going in Los Angeles. We were so nervous and bought up everything. My husband was laughing about navigating with a stroller. It was a huge event in a big city. Here it is smaller and we don't need to buy anything (sorry sponsors) and my son performs and sees his friends. We are not desperate to find Deaf culture because we crossed that bridge. After they left I remembered an Expo in Seattle that we attended and the crazy story we took home. This story reminded me of why hotels were a menace when my son was young.
About six years ago......
The Expo alternates between Portland and Seattle every year. About six years ago it was going to be in Seattle. We had friends working it flying up from Los Angeles so we booked a hotel room at the same hotel the vendors were staying at. We also had friends from Portland going so I know the hotel booked a lot of deaf people for that weekend. We left our son at grandma's for the night so we could socialize.
We had a busy social schedule the day before the expo and when the night was coming to a close a group of my girlfriends decided to let the husbands sleep so we could stay up and chat. We were in one of our rooms deep in conversation when the fire alarm went off at 12:30am. I was the only hearing person so they had no idea of this alert. I jumped on the bed and pointed to the alarm and told them there was an issue. They looked at me like I was crazy so we went to the hall to see the flashing lights and people fleeing their rooms.
*the flashing lights do not work if the person can't see them in their room....just saying....*
So we go down the stairs and file outside. One friends realizes that the hotel is full of deaf people sound asleep. We run to the front desk and I ask if this is a drill or if there is a fire. The woman tells me this is for real. Well crap, I tell her did you notify the deaf guests? No she replies. I explain that some of their guests can't hear the alarm. She tells me the system flashes. They were getting ready to leave and couldn't stay in the building.
*guess my response*
She tells us her hands are tied.
*you got that right*
My friend and I are freaked out and tell her they need to notify the guests. She then proceeds to give us their room keys.
We were told to go to their rooms and wake them.
*conversation between friends freaked out because we had peoples keys*
So we did. We ran as fast as we could to the rooms waking up folks we didn't know, invading their privacy. When we finally got outside the fire truck were there and one man walked out fully dressed for his shuttle thinking I had woke him for a wake up call, he was ready for work. It turns out the ice machine had caught fire and set off the alarm. There was no danger to the guests had I not heard it my friends would have continued their evening with out interruption.
*what if the fire was life threatening?*
About 10 years ago.....
We traveled a lot and hotel rooms were the norm. We learned early that people would see our son and want to give us the handicapped room. We also learned that if we had that room he could reach the locks. As a toddler he was very curious. So we always made it clear that we needed a typical room.
Once in San Diego we had a beautiful view of water and boats. My son enjoyed the deck where he could watch the boats float by. He was walking now and loved to explore hotel rooms. He found out there was a television in the bathroom and was fascinated. The door shut and he locked it.
We were not really aware that we were different. He was our first child so everything was a learning experience. Daily life was really fun. A hearing child would respond to a parents command but what would we do? He locked himself in the bathroom and could get hurt. My husband called the front desk for help and while we waited we did what any parent would do ...bribe.
My husband suggested we draw pictures to him. The first was harsh about how wrong he was. We slipped it under the door, nothing. This went on for a few minutes then I drew a picture of a boat floating by and slipped it under the door.....
He opened the door and ran to the deck.
I have the flu so off I go to bed.....forgive any typos please....