Organized by our ASL teacher Mary, the Deaf social was held at a community center and open to all Deaf and their families, Deaf/Blind, and ASL students.
ASL students were kindly asked by Mary to keep our voices OFF.
"Leave your English at the door. This is their event, their space, you are to be the minority."
I was nervous. But promised myself I'd try.
I dragged Al, under some duress. He needs to be exposed to this world. A world I'm learning so much about. A world we have chosen to be Owen's.
Much to my relief, and Al's, several of Owen's school friends and their Mommies were there. They weren't turning their voices off. The kids went outside to the enclosed courtyard immediately, again to every one's relief, especially mine.
I didn't feel like a jerk talking out there. So we chatted while the kids ran around.
But looking through the window, at the party going on, I did feel like a jerk, for avoiding what was scaring me.
So I ditched the talkies and went in.
I found a couple fellow students and conversed comfortably with them for a time. Had a quick chat with Mary. Then found a Mommy signing to a beautiful Chinese girl with glasses and pigtails.
We communicated in sign for many minutes, assuming she was Deaf before she told me;
We continued our conversation in sign anyway. She'd gotten her girl from China just a year before, she's now 5. She is completely Deaf and was thought to be also Blind, she now sees enough with glasses. The little girl is home schooled and Mommy left before I could give her my phone number, as I'd mentioned we should get the kids together.
Bea came in from the cold at some point. I helped her with a couple activities. Got her some food. Tried to hide my speaking from the eyes of the Deaf folk.
A woman I'd heard about was escorted in, on the arm of her husband. Stacey is Deaf/Blind, and somewhat of a celebrity in this community from what I saw.
Everyone seeming so eager to 'talk' to her. She never sat alone for more than a minute or two. A friend would approach, kneel before her, and gently take her hands. She'd first feel the offered hands thouroughly, and the person would begin signing, starting with their name. Hand over hand. Stacey's trusting hands following the signers. Stacey's face would light up with emotion and understanding as her hands felt the words.
Was a beautiful thing to see.
A woman from class, Amanda, Deafened at age thirty (now in her fifties) arrived, and I happened to be the first person she saw. So we settled into gabbing about everything and nothing. Knowing I'm still learning, she kept her ASL simple and I was able to catch almost everything.
I spotted Al and pointed him out to her. She asked if he signs. I told her 'just barely'. She waved him over, and started signing to him. Just to be a jerk! Laughing at his confused expression, she told him;
"I'll turn my voice on now. She told me you don't sign. What is wrong with men? Is always the Mommy's who learn. You need to learn."
As we talked some more, an activity was getting started in front of us. Pin the little 'I Love You' hand on the big 'I Love You' hand.
And would you believe the nerve of these Deaf people?
This time he got his ass handed to him by that chick in the pink.
She used to ride the bus with Owen. She tortured him. I never could stand the Deaf bitch.
He didn't minding losing that game. He was most looking forward to;
"Donut on a Spring."
Which he sucked at. But before he started crying about how hard it was to bite, Mary stepped in and saved the day;
Mary is going to do these parties every month.
I'll try to use my voice less at each one. I promise.
And I'll let you know when I have balls enough to talk to Stacey.