Illustration with apologies to Dick Bruna
It occurred to me last week, after a series of frustrating occurrences at work, that my rapidly evolving HOH behaviour patterns have the capacity to be misunderstood. Just in case anyone else out there is wondering whether their deaf colleague might be a secret agent, I have prepared a handy checklist of similarities in order to clear up any potential misunderstandings. If the person sitting next to you does any of these, there may be a simple explanation…
Always first in and last to leave
They might be on an intelligence gathering mission for MI5, or just catching up with all their extra prep and trying to get some head space because their brain is fried after a long day of listening.
Their eyes always seem to be following you
They might be waiting to inject you with a poison dart hidden in their umbrella, or just trying to read your lips.
They keep fiddling with their ear
They’re either wired for surveillance, or it could just be that their hearing aids are making their ears itchy.
Jumps whenever someone sneaks up behind them
They might be up to no good with the Freedom of Information filing cabinet, or just not heard you coming.
Waits till there is no-one about before making phone calls
They might be reporting back to the Kremlin, or just unable to hear on the phone in background noise.
Hastily abandons dialling the phone whenever someone enters the room
They might be making a clandestine call to Julian Assange, or just abandoning all hope of getting some peace to hear on the phone.
Takes an unnatural interest in room layouts and furniture arrangements
They might be planting surveillance devices, or just trying to make sure that they can locate themselves in a position where they can hear during a meeting.
Ignores you when you call their name in the street
They may be operating under a false identity, or just not have heard you speaking from behind.
Sneaks off on their own during lunch breaks at conferences
They might be uploading some files to the Pentagon from a blacked-out vehicle in the car park, or just hoping not to have to nod and smile embarrassingly over a plate of cold chicken drumsticks for an hour.
Pretends they haven’t seen you at the train station
They might not want their cover to be blown in an area that’s crawling with police, or they might be trying to avoid the embarrassment of having a one-sided conversation on the hoof, in mind blowing amounts of background noise.
Goes to the toilet on staff night outs and doesn’t come back
They’re either on the next flight to Acapulco with a suitcase full of gold bars, or they can’t face another three hours of fake nodding and smiling.
Always makes an excuse not to go to the pub
Could be that they don’t want to risk the potential of a Rohypnol tablet being dropped in their dry Martini, or perhaps they can’t face three hours of fake nodding and smiling.
Looks blank when you ask them, over a cup of tea in the canteen, what they’re doing at the weekend.
Either they don’t want you to know that they’ll be hacking Google’s servers from the basement of their rented accommodation, or they just didn’t hear what you said for all the bloody racket in the canteen.
Looks blank when you ask them if they’ve seen that confidential file you accidentally mislaid.
Either they’ve already flogged it to the FBI and have six million dollars winging their way into their Swiss bank account, or they just didn’t hear you asking.
The Cookie Bite Chronicles is unable to take responsibility for any confusion caused by the complex activities of secret agents who also happen to wear hearing aids.