Hearing Minnesotan Incoming

#1
Hello everyone! My name is Taylor, I'm a 24 year old living in a smaller town in Minnesota. My interest in the Deaf community started completely by accident.

One saturday a few years ago, I was in the front office of my place of work by myself, and someone walked in looking for a car part (I work in auto salvage). I called over to him and turned back around to finish what I was typing at the time and then walked over to him, asking him what I could help him with. He pointed to his ear and shook his head, and I felt a feeling of guilt. Now, I know I wasn't at fault for anything, but I still felt bad. Of course, I do not know sign language, and I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and I heard him sigh as he started writing what he wanted. That feeling of guilt grew as I thought about how many times this guy would have to do this in a day.

After a good 10 minutes (and a couple hand cramps on both sides), he actually had the part he was looking for. I handed him a piece of paper apologizing for not being able to help him in a timely manner. He signed a thanks with a smile and walked out the door. It got me thinking about what all changes in attitude, mood, gestures there were between the Deaf and hearing.

Fast forward a year, and I had mentioned this to my little sister (12 at the time). She was instantly interested and started on her way. She started with songs, simply learning to sign lyrics of her favorite songs, and now has a friend who is deaf and is able to talk to her pretty fluently.

I had another instance recently. I went with my aunt to a WIC appointment and was sitting in the waiting room with another person while she was doing whatever it is that you do at a WIC appointment. I heard a noise and looked up and this guy was staring at me and making some kind of motion with his hand. I had been watching my sister and her friend over the last couple years (my sister is really good at the talking out loud and signing at the same time) and I had learned a few signs from her. I recognized the signs and knew that he was asking what time it was. Unfortunately, I didn't trust myself to sign correctly, so again, I simply reached into my pocket, opened my phone and showed it to him. But the difference here was I didn't say anything, I simply smiled and showed him a clock. He seemed delighted and started signing to me, and that feeling of guilt from a few years before came back. I typed out a quick message on my phone telling him that I did NOT know sign language. He took my phone and typed a message back telling me that it was ok, it wasn't something that a lot of people think about, but that he was really happy that I understood him. It was after that that I decided that I wanted to start learning sign language.

So, here I am, looking to learn about sign language and the Deaf community. I really hope that anything I did dealing with those two didn't offend, I've been thinking about that since I've been typing this! I can't wait to learn more!
 

Cappy

Well-Known Member
#5
Hi Taylor and welcome to AD. You may not know this, but we do appreciate folks like you, that have no obligation to learn sign language, but do it out of kindness. You, your niece and others are A-Okay in my book.
 
#6
Well, the way I looked at it initially was based on the fact that people go out of their way to learn all kinds of different languages. Spanish, French, Italian, German, English are all near the top of the most learned languages, it didn't occur to me until just then that I know at least two people for each language, but I didn't know a soul who knew sign language. I had no one around me who would be able to interpret what someone was saying if they were deaf, but I know literally 7 people who don't have Spanish backgrounds that could be a translator (not including the ones who DO have Spanish backgrounds, which takes the total at my facility alone into the mid-20's). Everyone should be accounted for and thought about.

I'm kind of excited to look into this, but I just found out there's a community and a school for the deaf and blind just 20 minutes south of me that also teaches hearies sign language! You bet the guy got an email from me immediately! Classroom setting for learning is my best bet, I'm nothing like my sister, I can't just google it and learn it. If I don't have some kind of structure, it kind of falls apart. Yes, I'll be able to find words, but I'll never know how to put them together (tried this with spanish AND japanese, let's just say, I know the alphabets, and that's it).

Plus, I'm a notary public in the state of Minnesota, so I think it would be nice to have the ability to sign when doing notarizations, as I know there is only one person in the state who is able to do it. Gives people options.
 
#8
I'm sorry, that's not what I meant, I'm sorry if I offended you AlleyCat. The reason I even brought it up is because for any notarization, there has to be an affirmation or an acknowledgement that I'm required to say to the signer (ex. "Do you acknowledge that this is your signature and that you understand and willfully signed this document?"). All I meant by that is I would be able to sign it if that was the signer's preference.
 

Kee

New Member
#9
That is a wonderful way to start looking into learning ASL! You're very kind and thoughtful to pursue the language for that reason. Faith in humanity restored a bit~ :)
 
#10
Welp, let's dig up this ancient one. I had a lot of personal problems come up (family, work, relocating, etc.) and spent a good majority of my time working and sleeping. I'm finally looking into decent material to help me learn ASL, made a few friends who are deaf and encouraged me to try to learn again. With learning ASL, I knew there was a culture about the deaf community, but I did not realize it was so in depth, so I spent the better part of two days just reading articles about the deaf community (back to the 1880 catastrophe).

Just like last time, I hope I don't offend anyone with anything I say, and thanks in advance for being patient with me!
 

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