Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quiet time

Elizabeth had a project on Saturday. She was required to attend a conference for the deaf, in a neighboring city, for her class in American Sign Language. And Elizabeth, not being fluent in ASL asked me to go along with her. Which I did. Even though I know even less of the language.

At first I expected some sort of seminar where someone would either lecture at me in sign language and I wouldn't have a clue what they were talking about... or someone would be teaching me how to communicate with the hearing impaired. Either way, I didn't feel like taking notes.

Once there, I discovered that this was a carnival of sorts. One with booths and bounce houses and food. I was much more ready to go in. And in we went.

It was the quietest carnival I'd ever been to.

One young man bumped into me, not seeing me and I simply said, "Oh, excuse me." Elizabeth about died of embarrassment.

"Mom!!! Don't say anything!"

"Why? He couldn't hear me anyway."

Elizabeth led me from booth to booth, all being staffed by people using sign language. And she quickly pushed me in front of her to "talk" to this odd specimen of folk. Well, my sign language hadn't been used since my college days so it was pretty much pointless for me to talk to these people.

Eventually I found a chair and sat down, just watching all that was going on around me. And in the distance I could see Elizabeth happily signing away to the vendors in the booths. She had gained the confidence to try out her amateurish sign language. I was never going to regain that confidence so I proudly watched as she communicated in this silent, silent room.

She was also required to bring home a souvenir, proving she was there. And she didn't understand that ONE would be sufficient. Elizabeth's arms were laden with brochures, pictures, pens, pens and more pens. I actually don't think she needed all this stuff but more that she needed a reason to show off her sign language skills.

Eventually Elizabeth was ready to head home, brochures, pens and all. And we did. And when we got into the car she gleefully announced that she had a new career in mind. Interpreting. Yep, she is now going to minor in Sign Language. I smile at the prospect of having silenced my daughter.

We stopped at a Taco Cabana on the way home and found a table full of people all wearing gold bracelets like we were wearing, that admitted us to the fair. Of course, these people were more given away by the use of their hands while they were talking. One man seemed to recognize us and began to "chat" with us a bit. Which got me more than a little frightened.

"Don't worry mom," Elizabeth whispered to me. "I'll do all the talking."

Oh, the confidence of kids...

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