Names are difficult to lipread.

There’s no way to figure out a person’s name based upon the context of a conversation or background information.

It doesn’t help that I can’t overhear a person calling out another person’s name to get their attention. The only chance I have to catch a person’s name when meeting him/her is during introductions. Well, it could be any one of a billion names out there. It’s impossible!

It wasn’t uncommon for me to sit next to a person in class and become friends with him/her…..yet go weeks without knowing his/her name. Talk about embarrassment when I would be asked by a teacher to return homework to students that I had spent months with but didn’t know their names. I knew who they were, I just didn’t know their names.
The same goes for meeting culturally deaf people. Sometimes names don’t get finger spelled out (or mouthed) and only name signs are given. Well, just because a person has a certain name doesn’t mean that he/she will have a specific name sign. I have became friends with deaf people who after months didn’t know my actual name, they only knew my sign name.
I did come up with tricks to learn classmates names because….well…knowing people’s names comes in handy! One excellent example was in graduate school where I was so overwhelmed with trying to figure out everyone’s names. We were asked to give our student IDs with our pictures and names on them to the office so they could photocopy all of them for instructors. I happened to see an instructor use his copy during a class discussion so I asked for a copy of it. A couple of days later, I had all their names down pat!
I dread lipreading people’s names. Sometimes my guess is unbelievably off that I can’t help but laugh.
Other times, I come fairly close. Donnie wanted to introduce his friend, Kale, to some of us the other day. I thought his name was Kyle. I later asked others if they had caught his name and they all said they hadn’t (nice job on the social bluffing, even you had me fooled lol). That’s basically as close as I get to guessing a person’s name correctly.
To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a person’s name exactly right on the first try solely from lipreading.
Maybe I should just call everyone “Bob” or “Bobbie?” 🙂

Bridging generation gap with color photographs

I love pictures. I don’t think many of my friends understand why I take so many pictures of them! I’m sure it annoys them at times. 🙂

If I had the money I could see myself getting into photography. Right now, I just point and shoot. I want to be able to take in what is going on around me and if I focus too much on the technical aspect then I’ll miss out on interacting with people face-to-face. So I just snap quick pictures here and there.
There’s always been something about old pictures. I wonder what people in the pictures were thinking. I wonder where they’re at now. I wonder what was going on. I create little stories with my imagination.
Maybe it’s just me but color seems to somehow bridge generations. Even though the world is different now than 100 years ago, are we really all that different from our great-grandparents?
Things were different, yet same.
One of my favorite things to do when I travel or when I find myself in an older part of town is to just imagine what it would have looked like if I had lived 50-150 years ago. I ran across this photography series and it does exactly what I try to do in my head. Each photography is made up of 2 pictures taken in the same location (one taken in 1945 and one taken in 2010).

Knitting and Wakeboarding

Last Friday was ladies craft night. Good times were had. I was able to catch up with some old friends, meet some new people, and got to know others better.

I finally got around to learning some knitting basics (props to Sarah)!
Now, I just need to be patient with myself and focus on mastering the basics before I can start knitting some cool stuff. Think cute socks, mittens, hats….and…THIS
DNA Helix
I also went to a wakeboarding competition last weekend. It’s always nice to see something “new.” I’ll have to try wakeboarding sometime soon!

Why do we social bluff?

Why do we social bluff?

We = everyone not just people with hearing loss.

Hearing people social bluff all the time too. I’ve caught them so many times. Sometimes they won’t ask me to repeat my speech or something I signed even though it’s obvious they didn’t understand what I said.
Sometimes in loud settings I understand what someone is saying via lipreading whereas a hearing friend acts like he/she knows what was being said even though it’s too loud for them to hear.
Sometimes I ask a hearing friend what someone said because he/she acted like he/she knew. Only to discover that my friend really had no idea what was being said.
So why do we do this?
Is it embarrassing to ask someone to repeat themselves?
Are we embarrassed that we didn’t understand what was being said?
Why is it embarrassing? Should it be?
Why isn’t it more acceptable to interrupt someone and ask them to repeat what was said?



You’re probably wondering if the above word is a typo. No, it’s not. It’s a word that exists in my dictionary. Before I explain what this word means, I want to touch on some common reactions I get from strangers when they realize I’m deaf.
The Let Me Do My Good Deed of the Day Group:
This group tries so hard to help out that they make the situation worse. They’ll try to hold my hand as I’m crossing the street. They’ll scream into my ear. They’ll draw every possible attention to the fact that they’re such a good person for helping someone with a ‘disability.’
The OMG! I’m SO sorry! Group:
Members of this group will stare at me with their mouth open. When they get over the shock, they say “I’m sooooooooooo sorry!” with a pitiful look on their face.
The Oh, let me write in the air Group: What is it about people that makes them think I can somehow read letters traced into the air?

The Stay away in case deaf people bite Group: This group will completely freak out and look like they’re scared to death. They’ll nod their head and will slowly back up then walk off.

The You’re not really deaf Group: This group seems to think I can somehow hear even after I explain I can’t hear intercoms, telephones, or announcements. Oh, they’re so sure that I’m lying about being deaf because I look too “normal.”

The Ugh, it’s not worth it Group: People will take one last look at me…stick their nose up in the air and walk off.

The Let’s make fun of deaf people! Group: This group seems to think I can’t see them making fun of me when they’re standing a couple of feet right in front of me.

The *squeals* It’s a REAL LIVE deaf person. People, come look! Group: Exclusive members will holler at their other family members, friends, or co-employers to come over. Before I know it, I’m in an huddle like setting with people whispering to each other while they stare at me.

The Awesome! Deaf people=dumb people. Time to scam! Group: Apparently “deaf” means the same as “dumb” to certain people. They’ll try to steal money from me thinking I can’t figure out how much money I should get back in change.
Ok, these groups make up about 65% of strangers I’ve met.
The Oh, you’re deaf. Ok, *looks at me and speaks clearly.* Group: I LOVE this group. They’re willing to take the extra 5 seconds to repeat what they said, fingerspell something, or will give me paper/pen. These people are awesome.

Problem is, I never know which category strangers will fall into. So, I do what many deaf people do. I social bluff. After all, these are strangers I interact with for no longer than a minute. It’s easier and it saves me from potentially feeling crappy. It’s also a lot quicker when I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Sometimes social bluffing does work. The problem with social bluffing is a person never knows what she/he is saying “yes” or “no” to. This puts us in some awkward and interesting situations. 😉
I developed a bad habit of social bluffing while I lived in NYC. I would generally social bluff when I was out running errands or while I was waiting for the subway.
NYC people are the most challenging people to lipread. They talk 500 mph. A million different accents exist in NYC. They don’t always make make eye contact and will constantly look down or elsewhere where you can’t see their lips.
Oftentimes, I try to give what I think might be the “correct” answer. I judge if it’s “correct” based upon the stranger’s facial expression.

Yenoidnknumwha was invented while I was living in NYC.
If you look closely….you’ll notice it’s a combo of yes, no, I don’t know, um, what.
If I miss the question that was asked, I’ll try first with a “yes” answer.
If that gets me an odd look, I then try “no.”
If that doesn’t work, I shrug my shoulders.
If that still doesn’t seem like an acceptable answer based upon the strange look I’m getting, I’ll go “ummm” while I’m frantically trying to guess what was asked.
If that fails….I’ll resort to “what?” Which sometimes starts the cycle all over again.
Sometimes I’m so clueless as to what is being said that I try to mumble out a one word answer but it’s such a gamble as to which word might be the correct answer. The problem is that my brain will try to save my butt by blurting all of these words out at once resulting in the infamous yenoidnknumwha word.
Needless to say that just gets strange stares. 🙂
*note: I only do this in certain situations. I usually let people know when I can’t understand what was being said.