Next semester, I have to take a Deaf Culture class. One of my friends has already taken it. I know there’s an assignment where we have to wear ear plugs for a certain amount of time outside the classroom, out in daily life to get a taste of being hard or hearing (I don’t think it’s practical for a hearing person to practice deafness…) and record our observations in a journal to be turned in.
My only thought on this pending assignment is this:
I already do this on a daily basis. Almost anytime I’m anywhere except at home, in class, or at work, I’m listening to music. Yes, I am listening to something, but everything outside myself is greatly muffled and incoherent. I let myself rely on my other senses to gather what’s going on around me. I watch, feel, and smell (being a bus rider, that last one is usually not a nice sensation).
So when I have this assignment to wear these ear plugs, I’m afraid of not really having any new observations. It’s something I feel like I already experience all the time, by choice. Not that I crave to be deaf, but I would rather listen to my music than to people on the bus, or the announcements in the store, or the people honking at me on the street. There are better things to listen to. Silence is one of them. Sometimes, I don’t even play anything through my headphones. I just stick them in, and walk around.
In other news, I had a dream last night (the stuff in parentheses are comments IRL). In my dream, I woke up next to Chuck and really wanted to go to the grocery store. However, it was Sunday, and this meant that it was more difficult than usual to get to one. So I decided to walk. Just got outta bed, grabbed a shopping bag and left. I walked toward the highway (Staples Street) and walked right across it (It’s Sunday. Nobody drives on Sunday). I was now standing under the Ayers St. Shopping Center sign (this sign is visible from the highway, and it’s how I orient myself. Since I ride the bus, I’m never on the highways, and therefore, they confuse me. But when I’m riding with someone else, I often see things that I also see on the bus, and they clue me in to where the balls I am in this town. This sign is one of the more notable ones). There was a Church’s Chicken, which was closed, and then BAM! An HEB. A little one (like the one we see on the way to Port Aransas, strictly Food and Drugs) and I went inside, practically giddy to find we lived almost next door to a grocery store (for once). I walked into the little atrium, you know, where they park all the shopping carts, and all the lights in the whole store were dimmed. I was kinda like “wtf”, and then a guy walked buy with an apron on.
"Hey, are you open?" I asked.
"Yeah." He responded with a kind of "why do you ask?" tone.
"I see. I just asked cause all the lights were off…"
"OH!" he said. "I’m Mongolian, I was just practicing for the Waiting Room, you know, where we wait for God."
"Oh, yeah," I sympathized, "It gets pretty dark in there."
(My conscious mind stirred and was like “wtf is this asshole talking about? Fucking Mongolians…”)
He flips the lights on, and I walk in to the produce section. A good friend from my classes is standing there in a Flapper dress with a pink coat hanger on her head, examining pears. (Again, my conscious mind giggles). She spots me, which is no surprise seeing as we’re standing about 10 feet apart, and she’s facing me.
"Hey, Rachel! I was just showing these *indicates pears* to my friend! Hey *friend*, come over here!"
I wave and walk away aimlessly. This store is a little smaller than the Aldi’s I visited while in Fort Worth. Just a couple aisles. I find the one that has cookies, still not looking for anything in particular. With the rest of the Pepperidge Farm cookies, right next to the Milanos are packages labeled “Bleeding Milanos.” A couple of old ladies walk by me in the opposite direction.
"Oh, those must be for the Waiting Room!"
I think to myself “Oh of course. Duh.”
I buy nothing and go home. I’m suddenly back in bed with Chuck, trying to tell his sleepy butt that we live right next to an HEB. I decide to go back again.
I cross the high way, and this time, some tourists who are walking down the highway ask me where a grocery store is. I tell them that it’s literally right there and I’m going there now. They seem suddenly uninterested and keep walking down the highway. Or maybe they were in an invisible car. I don’t remember.
I get there again and walk around towards the back wall. There’s a huge painting leaning against it. One of my charges from my section leader days, Seth, is standing there, staring at it. I’m aware that he sees me, but he doesn’t say anything and keeps staring at the painting. Me in my non-confrontational way just turn the corner without looking at the painting. But two of my classmates from ASL I (I don’t remember who exactly) are making a bee-line for the painting. They, like Seth, are aware of my existence in their general vicinity, but also don’t acknowledge me. This doesn’t seem to effect my subconscious mind, and I go back to the front, where they have more racks of clothes than a grocery store should have.
(I’ve been thinking of going shopping for some more shirts for work. I only have 4. One of them is too small, and the other one is losing hems left and right, even though I just bought it a month ago… stupid China.)
I’m looking through these shirts, and find a long sleeved, off-white collared shirt, with little ruffles all over it. I think to myself how cute it is (it’s the ugliest shirt I’ve ever seen) when a lady pulls her cart up next to me.
"Oh, isn’t that cute!" She says.
"Yeah," I reply. "I was thinking about buying it for work."
She takes the shirt from me. I’m a little hesitant, but I see another one that was behind it on the rack, so I let her take it with no resistance. I keep looking, and after she’s puttered away, I go back to pick up the twin shirt, which was not a twin at all, but a blousy shirt with no sleeves and lots more ruffles.
"That little bitch!"
And then I wake up, go to the bathroom, and try to tell Chuck’s sleepy butt about my dream.