Bonnie Raitt’s classic song “Something to Talk About” starts like this:
People are talkin’, talkin’ ’bout people
I hear them whisper, you won’t believe it
They think we’re lovers kept under covers
I just ignore it, but they keep saying…
Amazing song, Bonnie Raitt has an excellent voice and great guitarist. I heard this song in 1991 and it has stuck with me since, through I need to google the lyrics. This song hits on so many levels, looking at that first line: “People are talkin’, talkin’ ’bout people”. In my experience: What exactly are people talking about? Being Deaf-Blind, I see people talking all the time, mostly family, neighbors, bus-riders, mall-shoppers, sidewalk-users, coffee-drinkers etc. But what exactly are they talking about? Politics? The latest Donald Trump Fake News? Some people could be talking about some other people in a rude way? That guy could be harassing that girl. That woman could be scolding her child. Two amorous lovers could be having… ah well, you get the picture If you want more information on an iPhone X, an Apple representative would talk about its features. Movie reviews? Dinner conversations could go in almost any direction in a matter of words! The list is endless! Whoa!
Let me show you what I hear and see, by using the following images…
In the first image, there is two stick people with happy expressions and empty talk bubble above their heads. In the second picture, there is two stick people, each is holding an iPad or picture, they could be exchanging emails. They do not have any expressions. Being Deaf-Blind, these images show exactly what I see and hear; I cannot see their facial expressions, I can see if they are smiling, but the further away, the more blurry they become. And, their discussion is a mute bubble, a mystery to me, I can’t figure it out. Remember, I can’t lipread, period.
Now, I am very used to these situations, as the last line of “Something…” indicates: “I just ignore it, but they keep saying”. I ignore, I don’t waste my time trying to figure out what some random person is telling some other random person, it does not affect me.
But, with my family, all hearing, I try very hard to stay connected, I try very hard to “listen” and be more than a hat rack. I constantly ask my wife, “What say” or gently tap her elbow to let her know that I’d like to know what everyone is talking about.
My wife tries very hard to be an interpreter for me, while at the same time, chatting with our boys, and our mothers. I’ve started to ask my older son “What’s happening?” Sometimes he does tell me, sometimes not.
I try not to overwhelm my wife, my love, she one only one person, and cannot do everything!
My boys can sign, and they do a good job. Tet, when everyone is home and all are chatting, my wife can often feel overwhelmed but still tries hard to make sure I am in the know. How can this situation be solved? I am talking about having a intervenor for myself, one who would act as my eyes and ears to support me to be fully included in all parts of my families life.
I have a plan to solve this….