A while back I noticed the Deaf Expo was coming to the Twin Cities. This excited me greatly. A friend of mine (hard of hearing) had attended the Deaf Expo in her state and she said it was an awesome experience and something she wished … Continue reading Stuck Between Two Worlds
I mentioned in my last blog post that we were going to have an undercover mission with a friend of mine and her husband. They went to the theater knowing they did not offer captions but just wanted to see what the reaction would be when they asked about them. What happened next just shocked me. My friend did not talk just used sign language and her husband did the talking. They asked if captions were available and THEY DO HAVE CAPTIONS and provided my friend with a Captiview device. I was shocked and even more confused after all of this. I am very glad that my friend got to enjoy the movie and understand all of it. To make matters even more confusing it was the same manager that helped me helped her.
I called the theater again trying to get a hold of a manager. I had no luck doing this earlier. I actually got the manager and it was the one I talked to. He apologized that he didn’t give me captions. Then he went on to say that a “Full Deaf” woman came in today and I gave her captions. She couldn’t even talk so she was full deaf and needed them. It was thank you for your apology and now go stick your foot in your mouth. I told him I wrote a letter to the editor and he was aware of this, I guess the paper contacted the theater. I also told him I was waiting for a response from the theater and he told me he got my emails but just didn’t know what to do with them. That same night I received an email from a district manager asking some questions about the day, time and person we talked to. I responded right away to the email. A step forward I was contacted??
Next morning I get alerted that my letter to the editor was published. Had to run out on my lunch break and pick up the paper. Not everyday you are published in the paper, well maybe if you write for the paper. Here is a copy of what was written and published:
We are in a day in age where there is equal equality to all…but is there? I was at the Kandi Carmike Movie Theater this past weekend with my husband. We were going to a movie on his birthday. I happen to be hard of hearing and I asked if there were a captioning device I might use for the movie so I could understand the dialog. I was given the response from a manager that those devices take lots of paperwork, signatures and time so we don’t bother with them. This really upset my husband and I. Paperwork is such a pain that we can discriminate an entire group of people from the movies. A simple no would have worked but to go on that it is a pain and burdensome was unneeded. I guess my money doesn’t need to be spent at the Carmike theater anymore. November 21, 2014 the HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) had a landmark deal with Theater Owners of America that come 2015 closed captioning for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Visual Description for the Visually Impaired will be required of all theaters. I look forward to this day, and I look forward to the day when the pain of paperwork and time doesn’t discriminate a group of people. We wouldn’t think of having a theater not wheelchair accessible, not all disabilities are visible.
I have not heard anything from the theater until today. I was contacted by CCAC (Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning). After corresponding with CCAC they sent an email to the district manager and copied me on the email and response. The email was sent and I thought AHHH now we wait. A whopping 5 minutes later we have a response from the district manager that they have captioning and are in the law complete with pictures of the Captiview devices and the headphones. CCAC sent another email back to them thanking them for their speedy response but alerting them as it is nice they have the devices they are denying them to certain patrons if they don’t look deaf enough. They asked the theater to issue an apology. This email hasn’t been answered.
So again we wait…..
My last blog post was about the movies. I wrote that I am not a big fan of the movies because of the dialog being hard to understand. I am looking forward to trying captions in a movie theater. So what do I do over the Thanksgiving weekend, attend a movie. My husbands birthday was on Black Friday. I partook in the shopping frenzy with my daughter and Mother in-law. We arrived back to my in-laws house to find my husband laying in bed looking bored. Asked him what he wanted to do, he responded the movies. Sure lets go, we have built in babysitters here. Let’s head to the movies.
Instead of going to our local theater we went to a large national chain theater that was nearby. What happened next just shocked us both. I noticed they had a sign for the assistive listening devices, the headphones. They don’t work for me, not enough decibels That was fine I was doing this for my husband. We went to go get some popcorn (which is way to expensive) and there was a manager standing there. My husband looked at me and suggested we ask him if they happen to have captions available. His answer should have been a simple NO. The answer we got was “No, captions are a pain. You need to have paperwork and signatures. It is a pain to try and please everyone.” I was shocked to say the least and my husband was mad. We just looked at each other in amazement and went into the movie. I couldn’t get this out of my head. Would this manager dare say to some individual in a wheelchair that it is a pain to have a ramp or a row of seats that they could fit into. I ended up leaving the movie to go back out to talk to the manager. I wanted to know what this paperwork was, did I have to fill something out? When asked this their response was, “No, it is just a pain and we have nothing to offer you.” I inquired about the assistive listening devices wondering if they even had them and again I was told, “we have nothing to offer you.”
How do I deal with this? It has been near a week and I am still in shock. I have worked at numerous jobs where I deal with people and customer service. I would never dare tell someone that they are a pain and what they are asking for is burdensome. I am really hoping that this manager was shocked by the amount of people at the movies that day and was just stressed. I really hope he doesn’t have this attitude all the time. I wanted to give the theater time to respond before I take this further. I want to hope this was a huge misunderstanding and there would be an apology.
I tried to contact the theater, they don’t make it easy. Their website has a form to fill out and a manager will get back to me within 2-3 days. Been a week haven’t heard a word. Tried to call the theater, can’t get a regular person on the line. I wrote a letter to the editor of the paper alerting them and educating them about this, hasn’t been published…yet. I have now written a letter to the corporate offices for this theater chain. They have no working email or phone number that you can contact them with. Snail mail will have to do in this circumstance.
An experiment will be taking place this weekend. I have a good friend who is deaf. She communicates with me by voicing and reading lips. I am trying to learn more sign, so we can talk through sign. Her husband is a sign language interpreter. They are going to go to the same movie theater as we did. She is not going to voice only use ASL with her husband. They are going to inquire if they have captions available at this movie theater. Do they have anything they could offer her to use. We are very interested in what the outcome will be. I hope that I had a stressed out manager and they will be given good customer service, only time will tell. I am hoping for a simple NO, we don’t offer them at this time. We do have headphones you could try and use.
I want to give the theater time to respond before I take this further but with each passing day my blood is seeming to boil a tad bit more. I wonder what A Day at the Movies Part 3 will have to say.
Yesterday a group I am part of, The Say What Club, had the topic of going to the movies. What seems like such a fun past time to many can seem like a waste of money to some, me included. Why, simply because why would I want to pay upwards of $10 to sit and watch a movie miss half or more of the dialog and sit and think why did I go to the movies. Which in turn makes it more than a year since I have done just that.
What we were talking about with the Say What Club was closed captioning at the movies. I think this would be wonderful. I love watching movies but it is done at home either Netflix or a rented movie and the captions are always on. I enjoy having the sound streamed to my hearing aids but I still need the captions to get what I miss. I need to fill in the blanks. My family is used to the words on the bottom of the screen. My son is behind in the reading game so maybe the captions will help some or he isn’t as behind as he could be.
The next obstacle is where to go for captions. I am in a small rural town but very lucky we have a theater in town. It is a one screen but upgraded to digital theatre. Our theater does have assistive listening devices but I tried once and it didn’t do anything different then my hearing aids in fact it wasn’t as much gain as I am used to. Great for someone with less of a hearing loss but I need the captions. Our next theater is 30 miles away and I contacted them and the person I talked to wasn’t sure they had them. Well that isn’t encouraging. I have heard there is captioning at one theater that is 1.5 hours away. Is that really accommodating the deaf and hard of hearing population that I need to drive 1.5 hours away to watch a movie. Just doesn’t seem fair. Maybe a price to pay of living in a rural area, or maybe an oversight that this needs to be offered.
After all this discussing on the topic of movies yesterday I went to a movie last night. It has been a long time since I have been to our local theater. My daughter wanted me to go with her to the new Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part 1. We went on our mom and daughter date and it was fun. I thought an action movie I don’t need to hear the words it will be nonstop action like the other two movies in the series. Not quite right with this movie. Lots of dialog and I missed over half of it I am sure. I didn’t fully enjoy the movie aspect of the night but I loved accompanying my beautiful daughter to a film she had been looking forward to seeing. It was fun watching her be tense and jump at certain parts and just soak in the movie. There will be a day in the not too distant future that she won’t want to do this with mom so I will grab the chance now. I look forward to the day we can rent the movie and we can watch it at home. She will love to watch it again and I will love to watch it and “hear” the words.
This has been the week of movie talk. With the Say What Club, with my daughter and with a huge understanding between the HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America), Alexander Graham Bell, and Theater Owners of America that captions will be offered in all digital theaters starting in 2015. I was so excited when I read this, how exciting. Article from the LA Times. I wonder if this will take place in my neck of my woods. I wonder how long it will take. I wonder if there will be heels dug in and protest. I just wonder….
Take care all and as they sing in one of my favorite musicals, Annie….”LETS GO TO THE MOVIES, LETS GO TO THE SHOW….”
When to ask, how to ask, and who to ask. These are all question that flood through my mind when I realize I am not getting what I need at an event or in a situation. I will be an advocate for my children, and for a cause until the end of time but how do you become an advocate for yourself? I had made a New Years Resolution that I was going to stand up for myself and make sure I can get what I need. This post is my public display that I am not holding up my end of the bargain.
I will tell people I am hard of hearing. People may ask how much loss do you have, I will tell them I have a moderate severe loss and what that means. I am open with that information but I don’t say what would make this conversation easier on me. I have discovered that is incredibly hard in my book. People hear the words hard of hearing they see hearing aids and they assume all is fixed and you can hear just fine. WRONG so wrong, I need you to face me, I can’t have a noisy fan or other noise around. I am not proficient in speech reading or in sign so I have to rely on the residual hearing I have.
I have had a few instances that have come up recently that I should have spoken up to enjoy the experience to it’s fullest. I didn’t speak up and ask anything and for that the fault all lies on me and my pride, or fear, or whatever is festering with this issue.
Last night my daughter and I attended a movie at a little country church that is used for an outreach ministry in our area. I attend a Bible Study at this church and it is a place of incredible peace for myself. My daughter and I got to the church and got our popcorn and drink and settled in to watch the movie, Heaven is for Real. Watching a movie in a candlelit century old church was magical. It was a beautiful thing watching the movie on a sheet being held by clothespins strung across the front of the church. What would have made the night better is if I could have heard the dialog. I maybe heard 10% of the movie. When I watch tv at home I either use closed captions or I stream the movie through an assistive listening device that goes right to my hearing aids, I love this option, I usually use both.
Did I ask for captions…NO. Did I come early and ask to hook up the assistive listening device to the movie which would have taken two minutes…NO. Why, I guess I just don’t want to draw attention to this issue. I did bring my portable streamer unit. I tried it but it mainly picked up the fans and I just got an amplified Charlie Brown teachers voice effect for the dialog of the movie. I had a great time last night seeing friends and neighbors but I just had this kick in the butt feeling why didn’t you say something or stand up for yourself.
I need help in this area. I need a shot of confidence that I deserve to understand what is going on the same as everyone else in the vicinity of me. I came home last night and my husband said to me, “Bet you couldn’t hear the movie tonight.” No I couldn’t, he keeps telling me nobody cares if you ask, there may be three other people there that missed this line or that and maybe wouldn’t have minded captions.
I need to learn how to do this at events like this or even a movie theatre. It is just easier to watch a movie at home and not have to ask. This is a huge learning curve I have found. I don’t like to ask for something normally so this is just way out there for me. I need to shove back my shoulders, hold my head high and get the idea drilled in my head that I deserve it.
This I guess would be my New Years Resolution part 2 of just ask, stand up for yourself, you are worth it.