MC Spoo
24Jun/080

Gas Station Scammers and Deaf Issue: Understanding spoken speech

Am I the only one sick and tired of the gas station scam?

Lately, anywhere you go now in SE Michigan to fill up, the gas station shows prices on the sign with TINY letters on it. Example:

This evening I filled up at the Valero station at the corner of GR and 10 Mi. The sign stated the price was a kneecapping $4.13. When you walk up to the pump, the price STILL says "$4.13". However, the second I put my credit card in the pump, the price magically jumps to $4.18 without any warning.

How is that NOT a classic bait and switch scam? They advertise one price, and then charge you at a second price. It's the very DEFINITION of a bait and switch scam! Where can we find gas stations in this area that are NOT participating in this scam?

And yes, dear gas station owners, I'm afraid it IS a scam. When you walk up to a pump and it shows the lower price... only to end up charged a completely different price, you're executing a SCAM. Every gas station owner who participates in this scam (and you all jumped on board like lemmings over the ledge) should feel a wee bit of the thief grease on their souls.

In other notes...

I've been thinking about why I have trouble making new friends. Silly thing for a 37 year old man to think about, isn't it? In any case, it's not a simple thing to explain. I wrote out speech which describes it somewhat for my "Deaf Boy" screen play. It's my favorite part of the script. However, due to the somewhat BLUE language, I'm going to try and rehash it here using kid-friendly language.

Okay, there are some people in my life with voices that I do not need to think about. I hear there voices, and I hear what they are saying. I do not have the interpret or otherwise spend time discerning the words. There are few of these people in my life. My parents, my brother, my cousin Charlie,my aunts Peggy, Sharon, Cathy and Mickey and friends Steve and Dan. To a lesser extent, some co-workers like Julie, Anne, Lynne, Suzanne, Jeannine, Karen, Dorie and others are voices I can understand when they're speaking directly to me. Other voices are just permanently foreign, and only maybe could I understand them if they tried. Mostly deep bass, high octave, or "low talkers".

That's where it doesn't make sense for most people. You see.... I have to LEARN your voice. That takes time. I have to listen to your voice repeatedly until I can make sense of your accent, and learn how you say words. Every single voice I listen to is a different language to me. I used to think "I have no phonetical skill to discern languages" but I have now come to believe my skill is probably incredible. Every single voice is a different language to me. When I'm in a meeting, I might be listening to what is being said, but I'm spending more time interpreting the language that I am responding to the language.

When I'm in a loud location, I can't even understand the people who's voices I know by heart. I have no capability to filter sound. My new Digital hearing aids provide SOME filtering capability, but it's still artificial amplification and the filters actually change the way peoples voices sound to me, making it sometimes harder to understand spoken words.

Also, when people don't talk directly to me, but to a group, it tends to lessen my capability of understanding them. I don't have a logical reason for this yet. Maybe when their voice is directed towards me, it makes a difference. But a person addressing a crowd of people can often be completely and totally incomprehensible to me.

Lastly, is the element of tinnitus. I'm not sure people believe me when I explain that my ears are ringing all the time. My ears are ringing as a type this. My ears ring when I go to sleep. My ears are ringing ALL THE TIME. There are no moments of my waking day in which I do NOT hear "ringing" of some sort in the background. The volume of the ringing goes up and down. The pitch of the ringing goes all over the board. Theer are times when the ringing is so bad, I sneak away and just collect myself for awhile until it fades. My ears hurt and I just don't want to think about it.

Now, imagine meeting someone for the first time. Your ears are ringing, they're speaking with a voice you're unfamiliar with, and they're not exactly patient. It's a go go go world, and all you can do is say "Huh? Can you repeat that, please?" repeatedly. They immediately think "you're stupid" or "you're boring" and move on to the next great thing.

That's my social life. That's why I'm a single 37 year old man... that's why I may never be a boyfriend, a husband, a father, or anything other than what I am now. Who knows? i could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. I pray I'm wrong. But I've got a lot of years saying I'm probably not.

It's not the end of the world. It's not even sad, really. It's just the way it is. The world... isn't ready for me yet. That's not my fault, really. I already believe to some extent that I'm hard of hearing because if I wasn't, well.. the world couldn't possibly handle that. At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

17Jun/080

Deep Thoughts and other crap

What if this is just the beginning? There's some story or another about 3 earth-like planets found around a star recently. Scientists claim it's too hot there to support Earth-style life, but they also make teh point that finding these planets proves that it's a "crowded" universe.

So, if we assume there are lots and lots and lots of planets out there... you can make two assumptions:

1. You can assume that the universe and everything in it was created for US. Only US. Us being humans, ya know?

2. You can assume that the being in a universe crowded with planets virtually assures being in a universe crowded with other lifeforms.

If we choose to assume Scenario 1, then we have to assume we are at the very beginning of all there is and ever will be. If it's just us, and there's all these planets out there, then all these planets and resources must in some fashion be waiting for us to get off our asses and travel through space. It also logically means, due to our stunted lifespans, that we will create faster than light travel.

If we choose Scenario 2, then we have to consider the quality of our transmissions and the validity of any claims by "religions" which state we are all there is, was, and ever will be. The sole children of God. The quality of transmissions is simple. Based on a random sampling of TV from the 400+ channels my U-Verse shows... aliens must think we're all randomly saying BEEP, or killing other people, or bouncing balls, or having so much sex they must assume we spend 90% of our natural lives copulating... or would the even recognize the behavior as copulation, or even the concept of copulation? The religion part is implied any time you assume life beyond the heavens. If we met an alien and they asked us "Have you seen Jesus?"... it would be the biggest revelation ever, wouldn't it? What if the alien said "We seek the wisdom of Mohammed? Allah Bu Akbar!"... well... the whole of Western civilization would be for shit, wouldn't it?

So I ask you again... is this just the beginning, or somewhere in the middle? Surely it's not the end.

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