A sad encounter
I was out at a bar where I go to play pool one night. At one of the tables was a group of people that I knew. I didn't know them all that well. Just regulars at a place I'm a regular so I don't know them all that well. Just known them a long time.
Anyway on this night there was a cake and balloons on their table because it was one of their birthdays. There where some people in their group that I had never meet before for the "Birthday party". So I went up and talked to them a while and did some magic for them. After this is when what I think a pretty sad thing happened.
I happened to notice that one lady that was sitting with their group looked like something was wrong. Like she was sad or something. She wasn't smiling or anything. Just sitting their looking around and taking little sips of her coke. I happened to be sitting right across from her and I asked if she was ok. She just kind of shrugged her shoulders and looked around the room some more.
So after a group came back to the table after doing some dancing. I asked the people I know if she was okay. They told me that she's deaf and she's always quiet like that. Of course my eyes lit up. I don't know all that many deaf people in the area so I figured maybe she'd know some of the same deaf that I know. Plus, I rarely have anyone to Sign with. I'm not fluent but I can have a casual conversation.
But then I found out that she didn't know any ASL. Not even a little and she hasn't shown any interest in learning it. I got to talk with her a little about it. She could lip read a little and we did some writing back and forth on paper.
She told me she didn't want anyone to know she couldn't hear. That's the part that I found sad. She was ashamed of it. Now, it took me a long time to come to terms with being deaf. I kind of locked myself away from the world for a few years back then. So I do understand the adjustment period. But even back then I "Wanted" to learn how to fit in with others. I mean it's one thing to lock yourself away from others during that time. But it's another then you still stay out around others but just sit there and feel embarrassed about it.
So I offered to help. I didn't push, I just told her that I could teach her just some basic signs. All I intended was to teach her was to finger spell. That lone would be a big help. And I also offered to teach it to her friends that where there. But she wasn't interested in the least because that would tell everyone that she couldn't hear when they see her signing. That was her reason why she wasn't interested.
I didn't push the matter. I just left the offer on the table. Gave her and the people I know that where with her a way to contact me if they changed their mind. I also hoped that her seeing me interact with people there would maybe encourage her or at least let her see that there is another way of dealing with it.
This happened a couple of years ago. I just got to thinking about it again today because I saw one of the people that was there that night today at the store. I didn't have time to ask about the deaf lady but they joined my facebook and I'm going to see if I can find out how the lady is doing. I hope that she can some day come to terms with it and deal with the change. I know it took me a while too. For me it was a day when I just got fed up with not being able to do something so I found a way to do it. That was a break through moment for me. I hope she has one too.
Just thought I'd share that story with you all.