Monday, July 26, 2010

Formspring Q & A #12

Q: You seem to be an intelligent man. What's your IQ?

A: Thank you. To tell you the truth, I honestly don't know...been decades since I was "officially" tested, when I was 18. The IQ test, at the time, measured me at 126 or 128. I took one online, few years ago and I scored 143. I think. I know that having an IQ of 130+ puts me in "above average" or higher. What's amazing about that is I am deaf and I cannot pick up on things aurally.

Editor's note: Feel free to ask me more questions, but I have disabled Formspring due to its unreliability factor. People have told me they sent in questions and I have no way of knowing if I got all of the questions. This post is THE LAST QUESTION that has been answered...if you do not see your question in here, you would have to e-mail me (check my profile for my e-mail address) and you can ask that I not credit you if you do not want anyone to know it was you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Formspring Q & A #11

This didn't come from Formspring...rather, the question was posted as a comment in my Formspring Q & A #8 post. In that post, I was asked "When did you learn how to sign?" and I answered with "When I was 25 years old."

This prompted Shelle BlokThoughts to ask "Why did you start to learn? Especially after all that time?"

Here's my short answer - I didn't want to learn until then.

Here's my medium answer - I didn't want to take the easy way out and thought I was doing fine as is.

Here's my long answer - I went to a school for the deaf where emphasis was placed on oral communication (meaning speech and lipreading) instead of using sign language or total communication (combining both oral and signing).

Here's my long, long answer - Because I learned in that environment, I developed a bias for those who eschewed oral communication for either sign language or total communication. I thought that they were taking the easy way out to communicate with other people. I even thought that using sign language harmed their ability to communicate clearly in English. I had met a few who couldn't speak at all and/or lipread and their grasp of English was...atrocious. They didn't attend the same school, hence my ignorance.

So...why did I learn at all? I, at first, viewed this as a challenge to learn a new language - I even thought learning it would be a snap because I discovered that I have an ability to mimic what I see perfectly. I learned that ASL (American Sign Language) is in fact a whole language that comes with its own syntax and grammar...just like Chinese, Spanish, German, etc. I was even surprised to discover a whole different set of customs and culture within ASL. I didn't learn everything within a year...I am still learning and I am loving it.

When I visited my uncle for the first time in more than a decade, he was surprised to see that I had learned sign language. The last time I visited, I had been using sign language only few years and there was nobody around who knew how to communicate in sign language, so I had no reason to tell him that. My uncle was mesmerized by how I could silently communicate every word, thought, and emotion to my wife and all of that would come out of her mouth as she translated ("interpreted" is the better word) for me. He understood my speech clearly enough, but he was just utterly fascinated with this. ;)

What did I take away from all of this? I learned a lot about myself, picked up a bunch of great friends, and gained a wife. ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Formspring Q & A #10

Q: How did you meet your wife?

A: This is easily one of my favorite anecdotes to share with people. Thanks for asking, really. Here it is...

People kept asking me where they should go to meet their potential mates. I get asked for advice on many things and I get why - they know I have the answers or I'll say something that makes perfect sense to them. I always tell them to never go to the bars because the people they meet there are under influence and are not necessarily who they are when sober. I've seen way too many relationships fail on that merit alone.

So...where did I meet my wife? At a bar, no less. LOL You need to know this about me...I do not drink and I refuse to drink on the account of my father. So, why was I at a bar? That's where deaf people hang out to socialize (it's a deaf culture thing) and where interpreting students go to help hone their skills by interacting with deaf people. I really never liked going to bars - the people you know aren't the people you know later on.

I had met her earlier when a friend of mine introduced her to me as his girlfriend so I put her out of my mind. When I went to the bar few weeks later, I found out she was single again so I asked around and found out that she is hearing and was studying to be an interpreter. That meant I could go over to talk to her and communicate easily with her. I was just interested in her mind and her see if she was really someone I could talk to. Guess what?

Yep, we hit it off right away and when I found out where she lived, I invited her to watch me play in a dart league at a bar 10 minutes from her home. The opposing team never showed up and we talked.

And talked.

And talked.

Until the bar kicked us out. We went to her house (I lived almost an hour away) and talked some more. I finally left at 7:30 am. Now you know why I love to tell this story. The moral? Despite my rousing success (going to celebrate 10 year wedding anniversary soon), I still say "don't meet people at bars". ;)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Formspring Q & A #9

Q: Sorry if this seems personal, but I am curious. What is sex like with hearing and deaf partners? I'm assuming that you've experienced both.

A: I don't think that is too personal. In fact, I get asked that sometimes when I agree to be on the hot seat for students in sign language classes who are either studying to be sign language interpreters or just interested in deaf culture.

You're right - I've had experience with both deaf and hearing women and I know that this is day and night when it comes down to that. The differences? Communication style changes (you can use your voice with hearing partners and you can't with deaf partners), senses (not having one sense can enhance the other senses, it's true), cultural differences (think of this as having different religions, beliefs, or race), and the "worship" factor.

Let me explain the "worship" factor. Think of your celebrity that you have a major crush on. You'd do anything for that celeb so you can have your experience. Not quite the same here, have someone who wants to be with you just because you are deaf or hearing. Some deaf people do WANT to be with a hearing person for selfish reasons (having a "built-in" interpreter is the most common reason) and hearing people want to be with a deaf person for selfish reasons too (most common is to accelerate the learning process). I made sure that I wasn't with each woman for selfish reasons; I couldn't say I made sure each didn't choose me for selfish reasons - I don't have their brains. ;)

I know there's the inevitable question that begs to be asked - which is better, deaf or hearing? - and I do not have a preference. You could argue that I've been with hearing women more often than deaf women...but that's because the circumstances were right more often with the hearing women. That's my respectful answer.