Saturday, July 07, 2007

I'm going to tell you a story

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?


stefanie said...

You on your lawnmower, you're like Mighty Mouse. "Here I come to save the DAAAAAY!" (OK, you'll just have to envision the Mighty Mouse voice and enthusiasm there.) Anyway, good work, Poppy. You did your good deed for the day.

By the way, I have not had to mow my lawn in damn-near a month, because it suddenly decided never, ever to rain here. On the upside, I'm not mowing my lawn in 102-degree heat. On the downside, it's looking a bit brown and dead. I may need to suck it up and actually water for once.

This comment is now as long as your story. So sorry.

Poppy Cede said...

Every time I read "Here I come to save the DAAAAAY!"in print the voice and enthusiasm occur perfectly in my mind. So, no worries there.

I do good deeds. I just do them. They take over my body. I am compelled. I also have a Post-It on my forehead that says, "Hi! I know a little bit of ASL and I'm *GOOD* at directions!" because I've actually had other deaf people ask me for directions. I need to get my Post-It revised to "and I have a cell phone to call somebody so we can figure out how to get you to where you need to be!"

Yes, water your lawn. It is dying, gasping, crying, "Stef, please water me!!!!!"

That's okay, I love your comment longevity. ;)

sourpuss said...

Good job, Popstar! Since I don't know how to sign, I would have had to grab a pen & write down everything I needed to say!

Poppy Cede said...

Sour - That would have been tough, since we didn't have a pen and my house is kinda far from the spot I was mowing at the time. I briefly considered going to my dad's since his house was closer but thought better of it. In this case that would have worked since I could tell from their email correspondence that they can read English, but not all deaf people know English.

Avitable said...

I would have punched them both in the crotch and ran away.

Joefish said...

You're a superhero! Can we get a picture of you in your lawnmower costume? :D

Poppy Cede said...

Avi - I know you would have, sweetie. It's okay, I'll protect you.

Mr. Fish - Wait, which one? I have two. One is the sexy outfit I wear to entice all the neighbor kids and the other is the bummy outfit I wear when I know all the kids are gone for the day. (I am sooooooo kidding, I only wear sexy outfits when mowing the lawn.)