Tuesday, October 28, 2008

La, la, la, la, la...I can't hear you!

So bunches of people, maybe four-and-a-half, were kind of fascinated when I mentioned my parents were deaf. Apparently, it's bad form to drop that into a blog post about firemen ogling your underwear and not explain.

And so you guys wanted to know all about growing up with deaf parents.

Here's a list of weird stuff I do because my parents were deaf:

1. I flick the lights to get people's attention.

2. If you are in my way, instead of saying excuse me, I will just move you out of the way.

3. I usually forget to close my eyes during other people's prayers.

4. I just found out that my brother, sister and I are the only hearing people in America who say "food store" to refer to the grocery store. It's an ASL thing.

5. I have an overly expressive face. Gargoyle-ish, in fact.

So now you know. I didn't know this wasn't normal until I took a Deaf Culture class in college. Then I was embarrassed as years of strange looks from regular people registered and I understood things like that the way to get someone's attention is not to pound on a table. So now I know. And sometimes I remember. But mostly not.


LisAway said...

Thanks for posting this! We only ever flick lights on and off when before we start talking to each other in this house, too! :)

I wonder if people I loved were deaf in the previous life (actually, I don't wonder as spirits don't have physical ears, as far as I understand) because I have always been teased for the elasticity and over expressiveness of my face.

Heidi Ashworth said...

You know, it isn't just people who live with deaf people who do the old "moving you out of the way" thing. My son can hear just fine, however, information that comes through his ears just doesn't get to his brain. So, we have to do a lot of moving him around and he is almost 19 and 270 pounds. It gets old. But, I think it is all so totally fascinating and I hope you write a book with deaf characters or people who live with deaf characters (ha ha!) because you would know how to make it resonate and sound true.

Heidi Ashworth said...

NOt that I am making fun of deaf characters, no sirree bob! I wouldn't do anything like that. (I'm sure your parents are wonderful and not characters at all)

Eowyn said...

Now I'll know what to watch for if I ever meet you.

I usually applaud with my hands in my house and every one of my kids knows the sign for "no!"--usually accompanied by a very nasty scowl.

kelberology said...

I have a 2 year old neice with down syndrome and we are all teaching her and learning to sign. she is really good at it. i will always remember the few lessons i had from your mom on signing. One thing sticks out as i learn more signs, she always taught me the meaning behind the sign and that is why I remember a particular sign. i didn't word that very well, but you get my drift. i remember trying to sign to her while you were in labor and the baby was coming out and we were both trying to communicate and somehow we managed!

Melanie J said...

Lisa: you're probably meant to learn ASL. Your face will feel right at home.

Heidi: I've toyed with it. I'd have to get better at verbally communicating non-verbal communication. If that makes sense.

Eowyn: I taught our last primary ASL applause. It's so much nicer.

Kelly: One of my favorite memories of James's birth will always be hearing you say, "Look at those long toes" before they even slapped him on my tummy. I grin abou that every time I have to buy him a new pair of shoes.

Kenny, the Distraught Husband said...


I wrote a big ole long post recounting our first date which includes a funny deaf-related story but it got disappeared by the cranky and flaky internets!!!


Serves me right for not heeding my own advice.

I'll attempt to write it again the next time Melanie does a post about the deaf.

Stupid internets!

Kimberly said...

Fascinatin'! You sound like you'd be fun to, ah, observe.

Possibly from a safe distance.


Annie Valentine said...

I forget to close my eyes during prayers but I have no excuse.

Took ASL at BYU and loved it. I now think you are way cool.

Heather of the EO said...

You're hilarious. I just love this post. It started my morning with a good laugh, picturing you banging on tables and flicking lights while people stare at you, wondering what you're doing. Love the list.

Alison Wonderland said...

I took ASL at BYU, it was pretty cool and I thought it could be really useful. And then I forgot it all. Except, oddly enough, the sign for the word forgot.

Laura said...

I wonder if we were all in the SAME ASL classes at BYU! I took the Culture Class too- and didn't really believe the whole "culture" part about it- until I worked DEAF-EFY and was the only hearing gal... Flicking lights, facial expressions, touching,tapping, it's all coming back.
Thanks for sharing!

Mina said...

I have Deaf connections that make me somehow feel a little bit understanding, at least, of the community. COnnections that will probably seem insignificant to you. My best friend's brother growing up was deaf. But he went to CLarke School, and so learned lip reading and speech. But it was rough on him, I think. ALS would have been easier.

Then in college I had a roommate who was VERY into ASL. She served an ALS mission and married a deaf guy she met in her deaf ward.

SO I took a semester of ASL. I learned tons (and still sometimes applaud in ASL and I think people think I'm NUTS!) but mostly about the idea behind ASL grammar and about culture. BUt my teacher was deaf, and she'd just come in with a list of words typed up and sign them for us. I didn't learn well that way. My roommate helped me a lot with that, but I felt too behind to go on. I'd have liked to though.

I'm a slow finger-speller. I get finger-tied.