Husband, Son and I met for sushi last week and talked about the friend’s wedding we were looking forward to attending. The groom was someone the kids and I have known since they were all in elementary school. Now he was a physician and soon to be a married man. I was contemplating that when Son announced suddenly that he’s leaning toward having a destination wedding some place warm and exotic. Husband and I looked at each other dumbfounded. We said we weren’t aware he was seeing someone special. “I’m not,” he said, shrugging. Alrighty then.
Also that week I attended my first session of the American Sign Language class I’m taking in school. I’d always wanted to learn this form of communication, and it’s as lyrical and intuitive as I’d imagined. People think the deaf spell everything out using the ASL alphabet of hand letters or through mime. People would be wrong. The alphabet is only used for proper names or places for which there is no sign. Much information is conveyed with facial expression and body movement. Questions, answers, and exclamations all require the use of facial muscles and head position as well as meaningful hand motions.
The two-hour weekly class is one of total immersion, meaning there is absolutely no speaking in the room, before class in the halls, or after. The teacher writes on a big whiteboard and then signs what she’s written. Then we all go around the room and repeat what we’ve just been shown. Remembering the appropriate facial expression is the toughest part when you’re busy concentrating on your hands. But without expression, you’re essentially signing in a monotone. You’d sound like Ben Stein to a deaf person. When that happens, the teacher writes “botox face” on the board. And we all laugh.
The workbook we use comes with a DVD as a study aid. After that first class in a room so silent everyone could hear my stomach growl, I came home and put in the DVD for the first time. I was eager for some sensory stimulation, some description in words to reinforce what I’d learned that day. The image came on the screen of two people with their hands held up in greeting. The large caption across the screen said There is no audio on this DVD. Of course. What was I thinking?
After the second class, I was on my way home when I stopped for a red light on a main road. Glancing to my right, I noticed the driver in the car next to me was looking directly at me. He appeared to be in his forties, a decade I haven’t seen since last decade. All of a sudden, he flashed me a big smile, tilted his head, and winked at me. The light changed and I took off feeling like a Cougar on wheels. Even though he was in a dented Civic and I had just been called botox face, I couldn’t help grinning. Mama’s still got it.
Daughter’s Featured Fotos celebrate November