I was just out mowing the lawn, with my earplugs in and Justin Timberlake cranked to the highest decibel while I swung in beautiful circles around the part of the lawn that is perpendicular to the road which goes out to the rest of town. While I was doing spinnies I looked up and saw a car stopped in the middle of the road and a man staring at me. He kinda waved at me to come over. I put up my finger to say "one moment," stopped the mower, took off my headphones, took out one ear plug, and walked up to the car. The man's wife was seated next to them. They instantly let me know they were both deaf but they were lost.
You think this is going to go poorly, don't you. Well, my friends, you are wrong.
I know a bit of sign, enough so that I can make people understand that I intend to help them but that I totally suck at directions. I took the printed page the man had in his hands and read the email that gave directions to the house they were trying to find. Whoever wrote that was a wordy bastard, because the directions were awful but there was a lot of flowery language around the directions to distract me while I was trying to quickly scan the email.
As I was doing this the neighbors from down the street came down the road in their car. I flagged them down, except I flagged them down as if they too were deaf and they thought I was just waving at them until I increased my waving frequency to full alert. I borrowed the paper from the man in the car and signaled that I would give it right back to him. "Hi, these people are lost and I totally suck at giving directions." The neighbors couldn't follow the directions either, but as they looked over the paper I noticed a phone number on it. I told the neighbors I'd call and they handed me back the paper and went on their merry way.
I signed to the couple in the car that I was going to call for directions, pulled my cell phone out of my pocket, and dialed. Two rings. A man answered the phone. "Hello?" "Hi, my name is (oh, you all know what my name is), and I am here with (man's name) and (woman's name) and they're looking for your house but can't find it." "Ahh, yes!" After some attempts on his part to try to have me give them directions I finally explained that the man and woman were deaf and that I'm not good with directions, and would they just come to where I was and help them get to his house? I of course had no trouble explaining where I was in relation to his house because he knew where he was coming from and knew where the road that connects to town started. One up on me with knowing where he was...
I hung up with the man on the phone and handed the paper back to the man in the car. I explained with a bit of sign and clear and purposeful speaking (for the lip reading, not because I'm a tard and talk louder to people who don't speak my language) that the man on the phone would be coming to them and that I wanted them to park their car on my road to wait for the man on the phone to arrive. He and his wife were both so thankful. I was happy I could help.
I went back to mowing the lawn for five minutes and then a man and wife in another car appeared and flagged me down to thank me. I went up to the car and shook the man's hand and said "you're welcome" then I waved to him and his wife and to the man and woman who originally asked for directions. They all drove off together to do... whatever it is they had arranged over email to do.
And so concludes the story. I am thankful that: I know a bit of ASL, I carry my cell phone, and that the hearing man answered the phone even though he didn't recognize my number since most folks round here don't do that. :) Otherwise the man and woman who flagged me down for directions would be drinking ice water at my dining room table for ...ever?