As I said in the previous post, Laszlo has accepted and embrace being deaf as part of his identity, and so have I. But it didn’t stop there… what came next for me was learning how to live with it. Saying that I often forget he is deaf coz I don’t see him as disabled, is cute for only so long.
Laz and I, are in a semi-long-distance relationship… not really, just feels like it. We live about an hours drive away from each other but our individual lives don’t allow for much togetherness. He is a fulltime Bcom Student and I have work and stuff, so we only see each other every second weekend, for a Saturday when I go to see him and a weekend when he comes to see me. 4 out of 31 days… Keeping this in mind you’ll understand why we would make the most of the time we have together. On his first visit to JBay, I had outdoor activities planned for us. The Saturday morning I woke up at 05.55am because we were gna go catch the sunrise. I woke, freshened up and went down to my parents place where he was sleeping. I knocked on the door, no response… I called his phone, no response. I knocked again and again and then I remembered… Dirrr! So I went in and pulled his foot. (didn’t know how he prefers to be woken up) so it was 20 minutes of knocking and calling and patience wearing thin before we left the house. Luckily we still caught it!
Thanks to years of sport travel, I have learned the art of a 5min shower…resulting in a maximum of 10-15 minutes bathroom time. Boyfriend is yet to learn that skill. When we’d get ready for an event or going to church there would be no way to signal him to hurry up when he’s in the bathroom, until we learnt that switching the light on and off gets his attention.
It was quite the adjustment for my family when he came around, we are a crazy- loud bunch and we had to learn (in the words of Mama Jack) to speak once upon a time and not so twice together. My mom (his bestie, want hulle skinner mos oor my) is actually better at communicating with him than the rest of us. She would touch his shoulder before speaking to him or say his name, so she knows that she has his attention and he knows she’s talking to him.
I’v seen him zone out of conversations when we’re in public places, lost in communication. He’d smile and nod but I would know, the lights are on but nobody’s home. I have learnt early already to not answer on his behalf, even if I have the answer to the question being asked, id politely tell whoever to repeat it to him. There are many other happenings I could let you in on but let me rather just sum things up…
So here is what I have learnt from #DatingTheDeaf :
- There is a difference between HEARING and LISTENING. Hearing is a sense. Listening is an art… its paying attention in order to understand. Not just taking in words that are being spoken but being sensitive to emotions, facial expressions and body language. Therefore it is important to look at the person you are conversing with, whether they are deaf or not!
- Being loud doesn’t mean you’ll be heard… “Say What?” doesn’t always ask you to pump up the volume, it can also mean “hay you speak clearly please!”.
- In restaurants or public places rather sit next to each other than across from one another. I just figured that the distance the sound has to travel is much shorter plus it has us looking very much inlove whispering sweet nothings.
- And last but not least, DON’T call a deaf person with R5.00 airtime, EVER!!