Where?

ASLMy grandmother has been especially supportive of my quest to learn ASL.  She wants to hear about every detail of where and what I’ve been doing, and she gets so excited when I tell her about a new opportunity that I’ve discovered.  I was curled up on her wood and beige sofa, a stylish throw pillow behind my back, telling her about on of the Deaf Nights I had attended when she mentioned how surprised she was that these events were so prolific.  “I never knew there were so many Deaf people around.”  she said to me.  “I mean, I knew they were out there and everything, but all of a sudden it seems like there are Deaf people everywhere.”

I thought about it for a while, and then I realized that before I started taking classes, I too had the completely mistaken impression that Deaf people were somehow scarce.  I never knew about all the fun get-togethers that exist, or the amazing performances that they put on.  I mean, there was the deaf man I bought my first bicycle from at the corner shop, and the deaf lady who helped me get the right size pants at work, it just never dawned on me that the hearing world would be insufficient for them.  Now that I know, it seems obvious that Deaf people would love to get together with people they can talk to without navigating a language barrier.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading articles about Deaf issues, it’s that a lot of hearing people suck.  They’re rude, impatient, and misinformed about almost everything.  I don’t want to be grouped with those people.  I’m so glad that I know Deaf Culture exist, it’s been an amazing discovery for me.  That still doesn’t change the fact that millions of hearing people the world over are living their lives without knowing about Deaf issues.   I’m so excited about what I’m learning, and I wish that everyone would participate.  If more hearing people were aware, maybe it would keep them from acting so badly. 

It’s really important to me that hearing people learn to be more patient.  Deaf people are willing to do so much to get their message across, and are so patient while trying.  If hearing people would meet them even half way, I’m sure it would make the process so much easier.  I think that’s part of the reason why I’m always so surprised when I go out into the community and people are nice to me.  If I was treated by hearing people the way a lot of Deaf are treated, I would hate my guts.  It’s nice that people are so welcoming in the Deaf community.  It’s also nice that I have ample opportunity to participate.  The Deaf really are everywhere, communicating fervently with each other and having a wonderful time.  I was completely ignorant about it before, but now I’m sharing everything I learn with my friends and family too.  That’s a whole gaggle of people who will be more understanding in the future.

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