Yesterday I took my girls to Walmart to do a little Valentine’s shopping. Leah got tired of the shopping real quick, so I took her to look at the fish, which she loves! While we were looking at the fish swimming around in the tanks, an employee came over and pointed at Leah, made a questioning face at me, and kind of grunted. I guess I kind of looked at him funny because he quickly whipped out a notepad and wrote down, “I am deaf”.
Well, over the years I’ve taken several sign language classes, and while I’d still call myself an extreme beginner, I quickly said, “OH!” and then made the sign for “my daughter”. This guy’s jaw dropped and he quickly asked me, “You know how to sign?” I signed “Only a little!” and it was hard for him to interpret what I thought I was saying because I was holding Leah in one arm and trying to sign with both hands. He gave me his notepad and I wrote down, “I only know a little” but he wrote, “I don’t care! Very good!”
I put Leah down and signed “She loves the fish!” He decided to try to sell me an aquarium so I signed “Too much work!” and he taught me the signs for “It gets dirty fast”.
What followed was a 10 minute conversation in broken sign language, garbled speech, and written correspondence. We signed about how he likes working at Walmart, do people talk to him, my blind husband and his fear of becoming blind, him wearing hearing aids or not, my family, the war in Egypt (that one took place on his notepad!), and so forth.
He thanked me for talking when another customer came over and I promised that if I saw him again, I would say hello. I wished Penny had been there to experience sign language, as she has adjusted so well to having a blind “parent” and I think it would be interesting for her to witness a conversation in sign. But she was buying me a big box of Lindt truffles, so I can’t complain.
Anyway, I just felt really happy that I was able to effectively communicate in sign language even to a basic extent and it was pretty cool! The guy was so encouraging and even taught me some new stuff. Happily, my brain has not completely turned to mush these past 22 months! hehe