10:34 p.m. - March 02, 2003
Also didn't much feel like writing and welcomed the diversion.
The aquarium will return though, when it's time.
Let me know if you like/don't like?
Was curt with a British woman who had heard from someone that my parents were Deef but at least the Brits say it as it is instead of the supposedly polite hearing impaired; she came up to me and placed a hand on my shoulder,
So you're one of Arthur's colleagues, the one with Deef parents? [Arthur is a professor of cognitive science; not my advisor.]
Yes, my parents are Deaf, emphasis on the "f" phoneme to provide a clue. I hate these situations when someone wants to be nosy or worse yet, exclaim and prattle; she was an exclaimer and prattler extraordinaire.
I think it's wonderful you overcame the disadvantage. Tell me, how did you learn to speak if they are death? [People, please. If there is but one thing you could learn about Deaf people, it's that the word is d e a f.]
At this point, I've stopped listening and plaster on my smile, looking for an exit. I tilted an olive off my plate and retrieved it slowly, but she didn't leave. I gave her the spiel but ignored the disadvantage part (so hard, but I never know what to say), explained that like all other children, I learned language through osmosis and imitation of stimuli and in my case, spoken language stimuli was in the form of neighbors and family friends.
I've always been amazed at how fast their fingers fly, it must be a challenge to think of the word, the meaning, and the right way to put it on the fingers and oh, sign language was your first language? My, how exciting! And you aren't handicapped like your parents?
People, please, please. Some education: Signing is like speaking; you just do it. You don't have to think about it - unless you're not native, of course - and I explain it's like typing; one knows what he or she is going to say, and the manual aspect depends on the individual; some are fast, some medium, some slow. But damn it, don't consider Deaf people handicapped and Jesus help you if you say that to my face. Some info: People like me - codas - have IQs much higher than the average hearing individual because our brains process information bilaterally, both linearly and visually, simultaneously in most cases. Not many people can do this and while it's a bit more complex than this, just accept it; we learn to sign before you learn to speak (by a good 6 months, if not more), we learn to read before you do (I was 2; the average coda is 4; the average hearing kid 5-6), we learn languages easier than you (the brain thing, what I'm researching). What's handicapped about that? If anything, British woman and you are ignorant and thus handicapped, not me. I ommitted key parts but made sure she realized she would never make assumptions again. I was ticked. Still am.
(1) Deaf people can't hear anything at all: Not true. It varies. My father hears nada, my mother hears quite a bit.
(2) Deaf people can't speak (or, conversely, they can if they try): Not true. Some can, some can't, and it has nothing to do with hearing loss/ability (rather complicated and I'm not a speech-language pathologist and frankly don't care to go into it); my mother speaks well, my father says two words. Dana speaks so well people think she's French; others choose not to speak. Others have "funny" tones that make you laugh, so why should they continue?
(3) Deaf people are no more or less intelligent than you: True. It depends, just like it does for anybody. Here's a Deaf culture note for you: If a Deaf person is educated, s/he is usually very well educated with several degrees, and those who aren't, well, those are the ones you think of when you think "Deaf."
(4) It's easy to get away with shit with Deaf parents: False. Television had to be off by 10:00 on weekends but there was no listening for my dad coming down the hallway and quick! turning it off; he would feel the side of the TV for the tell-tale warmth. Come home late? Not quite; your parents could hear your footsteps, mine felt them. See? There's no big deal about it.
(5) Lastly, there is such a thing as a stupid question. Stupid British woman was replete and I'm annoyed by the utter lack of intelligence this woman demonstrated.
That said, I've said enough. It would be so nice to meet someone who had a clue, ya know?