Thursday, November 24, 2011

I AM! the Inspiration! Baby!

This post is for the November edition of the <"Disability Blog Carnival">

I sit with my ASL teacher in a coffee shop. Today's lesson is about drugs, alcohol, and swear words.
My teacher begins, and I rest my hands atop hers. With her right hand she spells out "cocaine" and then makes the sign. I repeat it back to her. My teacher pauses, and then tells me that someone has walked up to our table. My teacher then begins interpreting this lady's words. "I saw you sitting over here and I wanted to come and tell you how inspirational you are. I think it is so amazing that even though you are both deaf and blind, you can come here all by yourself, and get coffee all by yourself. It's wonderful that you have special friends who can talk to you. I love watching you, and I think you are so inspirational." Before I can begin to compose something sufficiently snarky, she walks away. My teacher laughs, I laugh, and we joke about cocaine being inspirational. Then she jokingly says that the ASL sign for "inspirational" should be my new name sign, because I AM! the inspiration, baby.

I am in the mall with my SSP, and we are waiting at the Apple Store for the Geniuses to fix my Mac. We are deep into a discussion of dog poop, when a young woman comes up to us and says: "I think sign language is so beautiful. I just love watching you guys signing to each other. That is so special, and wonderful. Tell her that she's inspirational." The young woman leaves, and we roll our eyes and make my new inspirational name sign, which has become a joke amongst all of my friends.

I have a staff meeting for work. The room we are using is full because another meeting was taking place in there and had run late. My interpreters arrive, and we sit down in the lobby and begin chatting while we wait for the room to empty. I am telling a funny story about a misadventure I'd had earlier in the week, and then I leave to check to see if the meeting room had emptied. a client of my agency says: "Wow, is she deaf or deaf and blind?" My interpreter tells her that I'm Deafblind. The lady's eyes widen and she says: "Wow! and you have the biggest smile on your face when you talk to her. That is so amazing, I'll bet it's like talking to an angel from heaven." My interpreter tries not to laugh, and replies that no, she is smiling because I was telling her a funny story. The client then tells my interpreter that it is such a blessing that she can still laugh even though she is deaf and blind, and that I am an inspiration. Upon my return, my interpreter repeats this entire conversation back to me, and we roll our eyes and make the sign.

Whenever my friends or family tell embarrassing stories about me, or tease me, or play practical jokes on me, I remind them that I am an angel from heaven, and an inspiration and that they'd best give me the proper reverence or I may stick a whoopee cushion under their chair the next time we're at a restaurant. Don't mess with me! I AM! the INSPIRATION, baby! And don't you forget it!