November 19, 2009

Hey! I speak English!

There's an older woman living in my apartment who is deaf. I've seen her a few times with her daughter who's probably in her 40s, signing away. I've thought about going up to them to introduce myself, but never do. Why not?

Well, I can't think of a good way to do it. I mean, going up to them to say, "Hey! I'm deaf, I sign! Let's be friends!" seems lame. That's like one of the hearing folks going up to another hearing person and saying, "Hey! I can hear you! I speak English! Let's be friends!"

I don't have the luxury of eavesdropping and using tidbits of their conversation to introduce myself. I've seen other people do this, it's a nice trick. "blah blah I hate this wine." "Try that wine instead! It's awesome...blah blah."

Why? Because: For me to eavesdrop, I have to STARE at them. I can't even surreptitiously look out the corner of my eyes because (Yes, I've tried) they sign way too fast for me to follow the conversation and the only thing I can pick up is random slips of signs that could mean a dozen different things in different context. ASL is an amazingly versatile language. But I digress. Not to mention, if I look more directly, they get all uncomfortable. "Why is that woman watching us sign?" I've thought that a few times when signing with my friends in public. I never know if they're just curious or if they themselves know sign and are eavesdropping.

Complicating things a bit is the fact that, due to disuse, my own sign skills are getting pretty rusty. I know that a good number of deaf people dislike it when strangers walk up to them and sign, painstakingly slowly, "I......k-n-o-w....sign!" Ok, I'm probably not that bad, but I know it'd show.

Hell with it. Next time I see them, I'll go up to them and ask how they like the weather.

1 Comments (Click here to comment):

Anonymous,  November 19, 2009 at 6:31 PM  

Definately go up to them, and you are right, comment on the beautiful day or what ever it is doing outside in sign and see what happens :)

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