Monday, June 27, 2011

ADSL's questions, pt 1

A Daft Scots Lass left a comment in one of my posts last week, asking the following questions:

"Whats the most interesting conversation you have ever evesdropped on? Knowing that you lip read and not everyone being aware of it, have you ever come across and interesting situation that made you surprised or made you laugh? I'm sure you have some interesting stories to tell."

"Is there such a thing as a singles bar for sign languagers? If so, have you ever been to one and whats it like? Is everyone signing all over the place?"

"Do you prefer to sign with a fellow deaf person or do you prefer to lip read?"

"Whats your most favourite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?"

"Whats your most challenging part of being a daddy?"


Since ADSL's first two questions contain sub-questions, I'll answer them in "ADSL's questions, pt 2" (and pt 3) later on in the immediate future, I will answer question #3 which is "Do you prefer to sign with a fellow deaf person or do you prefer to lip read?"

Having attended my deaf school's reunion Saturday night, I got to experience both (signing with deaf people and lipreading each other) at once in one sitting. My deaf school emphasized strongly on oral education - signing was forbidden in the classrooms. We had to learn how to lipread the teachers. When we were done with our deaf school, we were ready for the world without ever acquiring any signing skill.

I had not seen some of my classmates for 30 years and it was rather disconcerting to me when I talked with some of them and seeing their eyes go blank when I tried to use sign language to help with the communication. One classmate was barely able to comprehend fingerspelling...and nothing else other than a sign here and there. Two of my classmates started conversing with each other, without any signing - just lipreading and gesturing.

I got bored with them after few minutes and I sought out others who could sign. I know it sounded if I was being a jerk or selfish. They were talking about NASCAR and driving/racing tactics. I have nothing against that, just not my cup of tea. I simply used that as my excuse to leave.

So it's obvious that I'd rather sign with a fellow deaf person than to lipread. Out of the 21 students in my graduating class, 14 attended the reunion (including me). Maybe half of that are at least competent in sign language communication. 30 years since graduation and only one could communicate with me in sign language fluently.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Say What? "Land of evil"

Yesterday, my wife and I went to a local mall to track down an ATM that's serviced by our bank.

Me: I thought it was right here (upon entering the mall and not seeing the ATM where I thought it would be), but maybe it is up there to the right (pointing to the escalators). I think.

Wife: I think it's land of evil.

Me: Huh? Say that again.

Wife: Land of evil

Me: Land of...oh, lower level! I thought you said "land of evil".

Wife: Haha, all ATMs should be in the land of evil! (laughs)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Story series - the only time I ever wet my pants at school

When Gillian from "A Daft Scots Lass" talked about what happened with her daughter at school (see the post about that), it triggered a memory in me.

This happened in my first year in a school where everyone was hearing. I went to a deaf school so a new school, filled with strangers who had little or no experience in dealing with a deaf person, was intimidating for me.

I had this teacher who would do double duty as a math teacher and a P.E. teacher. He and his wife, who also worked as a P.E. teacher, were extremely tough to deal with; even for a hearing student. How tough was he? I walked under a volleyball net to get to my assigned spot for the roll call and I was promptly punished with 5 laps around the gym for that infraction. Didn't matter to him that I was new to the school, let alone know I wasn't supposed to go under that.

While in his math class, I felt the need to go to the bathroom and I looked at the clock. Over half an hour left to go. Groans. I tried to hold it in until the class was over...when it was 20 minutes left to go, the wait was too much for me. I got up and walked over to his desk.

I remember seeing a student look at me wide-eyed as I walked by, as if he was questioning my action. I didn't think much of that. When I got to his desk, I waited for him to look at me. He looked at me in a manner that said, "What? You're bothering me!". I politely asked for permission to go to the bathroom.

He looked at the clock on the wall, back at me, at the watch on his wrist, back at me, and said, "Can you wait another twenty minutes? GOOD!" He looked down right away which told me that he didn't want to let me respond.

Suddenly, the room seemed hot and small. I knew everyone was looking at me. I turned around and locked my eyes on my desk, daring not to look at anyone. I sat down and locked my eyes on the teacher. I waited...and waited...I started to squirm more and more with the bladder threatening to burst.

Then, it happened. I could not hold it in anymore, no matter how hard I tried. I panicked a bit, worrying that the students could hear me peeing in my pants or smell that. Felt like I was going to pee for a long time. Finally, I stopped. I moved my butt up and down the chair to try to sop up the pee.

I sat there in silence, waiting for the bell to ring. When it finally rang, I pretended to have trouble getting my stuff together so I would be the last student to leave. The classroom was just 30 yards away from the principal's office, but it may as well be a mile because the students had filled the hallway and I knew that anyone could see that I had peed in my pants.

I breathed in deeply and lowered my head and walked out into the long walk to salvation. Simply told the secretary that I wet my pants. She called my mother. My mom came with pants and underwear. She tried to ask me what happened and I told her I didn't want to talk about it now.

After I finished the day and went home, I told my mother what happened and she blew her top. I learned years later that she threatened to sue the school...and that would have been for the 2nd time - the first time was when they put me in a different class and tried to play that off as "for academic reasons". About that 1st time, I'll save for another post.

The point was, I thought this was the norm for what had happened. I knew so little about the hearing culture. I didn't even know you weren't supposed to walk between two people conversing with each other without saying "excuse me". It was a major transition for me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

That's Life!

You know how, as a parent, things get screwed up schedule-wise in terms of getting everyone ready for school and work? Today was one of those days.

The girls had taken way too long to "get going" - eating, showering, and dressing. In my haste to help speed things up, I wasn't paying ENOUGH attention.

I grabbed some socks, panties, a T-shirt, and some overalls with Harry Potter's Hedwig on it for my younger daughter. Dropped them in front of her and said, "Get dressed now." I left to tend to my older daughter in the kitchen.

Three minutes later, she came into the kitchen and totally surprised me with how she handled my request. Here is what I saw.

The legs were way too long fer her and she improvised. All on her own.

Made my day. :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Poll results

That's the result of a poll I put to the visitors. Interestingly, nobody went for the final option because I considered that to be open-ended and allowed others to express their opinion that wasn't listed. Also, it was interesting to me that so few of you (2) were interested in my experiences as being a deaf person with Story Series/Anything funny (3 each) and Memories (4) close behind.

I will keep varying the nature and topic of my posts (yes, I will still post "Say What?" on a recurring basis). Thank you very much for taking your time to answer my poll...I appreciate that! My curiousity has been sated, for now. ;)