Tag Archive | deaf

Sub sub sub sub…

Groups and sub-groups fascinate me.  First of all, there is no group of people that can’t be broken up into multiple sub-groups.  Second, no one is so unique that they can’t find a group of people like them.

Let’s hit the first point: every group of people has sub-groups.

You all know this: think about where you work.  You probably all have similar training, work in a similar environment, doing similar things, but you are not “the same” as these people.  Your background, experiences, and personal interests make you different.  Someone walking in to your workplace might just see “a group of engineers,” or “a room full of teachers” but you know that isn’t true.

As an ASL Interpreter, I have Deaf people who I count among my friends.  If you’ve only “met a Deaf person once,” you will assume all deaf people are just like the person you met.  I can tell you without question, that is not so.  Deaf people are just like people who are not Deaf, that is, different from one another.  In my group of Deaf friends, one is a knitter, like me.  One speaks on his cell phone, but doesn’t text; all of my other Deaf friends text me.  One is a stay-at-home mom who is an avid reader. One loves music and dancing.  (For those people who are confused right now, being Deaf doesn’t mean you hear nothing, it means you have a hearing loss.)  The only thing these friends have in common is that they are unique.

We all want to be unique.  Unique is good.  Unique is special.  Our fingerprints are all different. Our DNA is ours and ours alone.  There is a point, however, when unique becomes, well… weird.  You wouldn’t want to be the only person in the world, for example, who liked eating chocolate covered pretzels.  First of all, they’d be very hard to find.  People would ridicule you for making them yourself to satisfy the craving.  And, if every time someone tried your delicacy they got sick, you’d start wondering just how “unique” you are.

Which brings me to my second point: no one is so unique that they can’t find a group of people like them.

For better or worse (and I’m definitely a “better” believer), the Internet has made the world smaller.  There may only be a few people who share your interest in antique cars, whale bone corsets and macrame, but rest assured someone likes these things as much as you do.

I’m a member of a website called Ravelry, which I’ve talked about before.  I describe it as Facebook for Knitters, but it’s really much more.  On Ravelry, you can join various groups of people who share your interests.  I belong to a Harry Potter Knit & Crochet House Cup group.   The House Cup group is run as a School.  We’ve broken the year into 3 terms (3 months, break, 3 months, break, 3 months, break).  Everyone is sorted into a house (just like the original books) and each term there are classes with a “homework assignment.” You craft an item for the class to win points for your House (I’m a proud Badger of Hufflepuff in my 5th term.) Each house has it’s own separate forum where we can chat online and cheer each other on. You post pictures of your project to prove you’ve finished your “homework” and … okay, some of you are reading this thinking, “Okay, THAT is weird.”  Well, the HPKCHC has over three thousand members.  I may be weird, but I’m in good company.  And they really ARE good company.  Besides chat & encouragement, I received many birthday wishes online last month and two of my Hufflepuff classmates sent me snail mail cards with gifts!

These people are great and I feel lucky to have found them.  They are my sub-group.  Maybe even my sub-sub-group. And it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Just for fun, I recommend you check out the website 10 of the Weirdest Hobbies (http://www.oddee.com/item_97171.aspx).  Even though one of them is knitting related (no, I’ve never knit one of those), my favorite is number 8: Grooming Dogs.

Day One (December 2011)

DAY ONE

I am not a writer.

Of course, the list of things I am not would easily fill this page. In small print. The list of what I do consider myself, that is, the list of skills in which I believe myself to be “accomplished” is quite short. That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of that short list. I just wish it wasn’t so short.

One of my skills is fluency in American Sign Language. (Pausing here for the “oohs” and “aahs” that I assume must follow.) Is it less impressive when I explain that Interpreting is my career? I hope not. Because although I’m not a writer, if I were one, I would hope that finding out I was JK Rowling would not make my skill less impressive. (Ummm…. I’m not saying I’m as good an interpreter as JK is a writer, but… oh, never mind. Just read on.)

And, yes, I really wish I were JK Rowling. Both because I’d love to write with her skill and because I’d love to have her bank account. But a small voice inside me won’t let me stop there. Truly, if I envy her (and I do!) it’s because she came out of nowhere and left a mark – and SUCH a mark! – on the world. The whole world!!

When people see me signing with someone, the reaction I get most often is, “I wish I knew Sign Language.” When I was younger, I’d encourage these people. “It’s never too late!” “I know where you can take classes!” But their faces would cloud over. They didn’t really want to make an investment of any time into this; it was something they just wanted to add to their short list of accomplishments. Over the years I’ve come to hear their declarations with a jaded ear. Sometimes I’ll show someone a few signs but, if they can’t even drop their embarrassment long enough to lift their hands in a gesture of farewell, how can I believe they really wish they could sign?

This all came back to haunt me last night. You see, I had Sangria last night. Three plastic cups worth of it. At a Christmas Party. The party was unremarkable and the Sangria was nothing special. There couldn’t have been much alcohol in it, either, for me to down three whole cups and still manage to walk out the door under my own power. I even remember the drive home. (No, I wasn’t driving.) But when the effects wore off, at 3:13 am, I was wide awake. I started rummaging around on the internet and found myself reading random facts about Harry Potter. I really love those books. I love the movies, as well – I’m not a book-snob. Well, at least with those movies. Philip K. Dick was treated much worse when his book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and his short story Minority Report were turned into movies. But I digress.

I wanted to know all the stupid facts about Harry Potter. Some of them were gleaned from interviews with JK that included information about Harry’s world after the last book had ended. For example, “After Fred’s death, George was never again able to produce a patronus.” That made me cry. Literally, crumble into a sobbing heap at my computer. Because I get it; George never again could come up with a truly happy memory that did not include Fred in it, which would make him too sad to produce a patronus.

Do you see what is happening here?

JK Rowling has taken a world that doesn’t exist and I know so much about it that I don’t even have to know the details of the fact to understand it. I don’t understand my own family as well. And I’m not the only reader to have that reaction. I’m sure of it. So are you. Even if you never read one of her books or saw a single movie (I can’t imagine who you are who can lay claim to that but, if you’re reading this and haven’t read that, you are doing yourself a grave disservice.)

I never really wanted to be a writer. I don’t even like to write. Writing makes me think about English classes. I always enjoyed reading, but not writing. I was an English literature major in college. Mostly because I thought, with literature, I could get away with doing lots of reading and that would get me a degree. Unfortunately, the professors wanted me to write about what I’d read. That seemed completely unfair. I read something that was written. Writing more about it must, therefore, be less than the original. And they’re going to grade me on it!

On the other hand, I do love a good narration. I sometimes narrate my own life. (I really hope I’m not the only one who does this, but I’ve never been brave enough to ask anyone.) For example, some of what I’ve written on these pages started as a narration in my head this morning at 3:something o’clock. When I woke up, my first thought was, “I’m no better than those uncommitted people who comment to me on a regular basis that they wish they knew Sign Language.”

So, today, I begin to write.