Jul 30, 2003
I keep posting and then I keep remembering things I meant to post about. Today at work a Deaf lady came through my line. There were two hearing people with her, so I was under no obligation to communicate directly with her, but I somehow felt personally obligated since I am capable. Well, "capable" is relative. My real-life communication skills in ASL are quite limited, which one only realizes when confronted with certain situations. Anyway, she was the paying person of the group, so I felt if I did not communicate with her as much as my average customer I was in some way discriminating against her, since, once again, I am somewhat capable of communicating with her. As I rang up her merchandise, I debated in my head what I should do: say something (sign) at the risk of messing it up horribly, or stay "quiet" as if I knew no sign at all. Above all, I refused to communicate "second-hand" with her by telling the hearing woman whatever I wanted to say to her. In the end, I decided it was best not to try to say more than I knew I was able to, so I simply asked her for her signature on the receipt and told her thank you as she left. She seemed thrilled that I said thank you, so that was a bit comforting. I still feel like it was a cop-out, though... like I should have said more. But I guess if I knew some French, I wouldn't be obligated to have a conversation with a French-speaking person; I would only be required to do what was necessary for my job. In my situation, that's what I did, as best as I was able. I mean, I really have no clue how to ask her if she "would be interested in saving 10% by opening an Old Navy acount," so I didn't bother trying that one. (I might be able to get all the words out, but I'm pretty sure it would "lose something in the translation"!) Anyway, that was my eventful moment of the day.