Monday, August 30, 2004

"You can READ in your MIND and SPEAK with your MOUTH!"

What a busy week! Last week I had two group meals with coworkers, a housewarming party for another coworker, and a big family birthday party at the Lake. I gotta tell you, big group events like that with lots of people I don't know all that well are sheerly exhausting for me. Communication is like swimming through glass as it is; the glass gets thicker and more opaque the less regularly you communicate with someone. So while I am very aware of how lucky I am to have such an active social life - the most common word deaf people use to describe how they feel seems to be "isolated" - I feel just exhausted mentally.

Being with the kids at the Lake is interesting and amusing, as always. A four-year-old nephew, "Conner", forgets each time between visits that I can't hear him. Working with him is a fascinating glimpse into the amazing cognitive nature of the human mind at that age. The last time I went out there he was speaking to me and I had to remind him that I couldn't hear what he was saying. He looked disconcerted - then he put his right hand in the air and began making shapes - he'd seen his older sisters using the ASL alphabet to communicate with me and was mimicking them! I was amazed that he'd noticed that, figured out what was going on, and tried to duplicate it.

On Saturday he was speaking to me and I told him to get his Uncle (who is Husband) to write down what he was saying so I could understand it. He wanted to know why and I reminded him again that I am deaf, I couldn't hear him speaking. So if Uncle wrote down what he said, I could read it, and then I could know what he was saying. He chewed on that for awhile and then excitedly blurted out something which Husband wrote for me:

"Because then you can READ in your MIND and SPEAK with your MOUTH!"

"That's right, kiddo," I told him. "You understand. You understand perfectly."



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