October 14, 2004

Map Quest

So on Sunday I went to lunch with my friend Alice and an interpreter I just met named Bethany. I originally met Alice doing research for a book I am writing right now called The Refrigerator Border Wars. Alice is a 50-something year old woman with type one Ushers syndrome. One of the characters in my book is a 60-something year old woman with type one Ushers Syndrome. Which is a medically accurate way of saying both Alice and my character were born Deaf and went completely blind by the age of 45.

Stop for a second. Think about that. I mean. Crap.

ANYWAY. Because of some thematic things having to do with the family’s shared traits, I needed my Deaf-blind character to be independent and self-sufficient and I didn’t know if you can be these things AND Deaf-blind. Until I met Alice. And um. Yes. Yes, you can. Or ALICE can anyway. She baby sits her grandkids every day while their parents are at work and she does all the regular gramma missions like bakes them brownies and keeps fish and etc.

I don’t get to hang with Alice as much as I would like because my sign is PATHETIC – I can grind out finger spelling and know maybe 30 signs. So we talk on the phone and we go out to lunch whenever I can get an interpreter to come with us. This time the interpreter was Bethany, this certified-to-be-adorable young woman with a yard of glossy brown hair who was SO sweet and funny and charming you could DIE from it. Just the most relaxed, easy going human ON THE PLANET. ANYWAY, Bethany meets me at Alice’s so Alice can show me her TTY system (a Braille teletyper that Alice uses to talk to me on the phone via the Georgia Relay Service). Then we decide to go eat, and Alice wants to go to Cracker Barrel.

I don’t know where it is.
Bethany doesn’t know where it is.

Stop for a second. Think about that. I mean. Crap.

Her husband is watching the game so it’s just the three of us and the ONLY ONE who knows where the place is can’t see. Or hear. But okay. Off we go.

And Alice gives us directions. I don’t mean she does it from memory. She doesn’t say “go two blocks to Jerry street and take a left” I mean she sits there quietly in the car and signs, OKAY GO LEFT NOW when she FEELS we are at the turn. And this Cracker Barrel is a good twenty minutes away and we have to do a stretch down highway 75 and she knows WHEN WE ARE COMING TO THE EXIT. I mean. CRAP. I can SEE and HEAR and I get lost trying to find the BATHROOM IN MY OWN HOUSE.

SO there’s a wait and we shop and we all buy a bunch of dorky-cute Halloween stuff because it’s on sale. It’s a good day. But after lunch? I can’t even GET OUT OF THE PARKING LOT THE CORRECT WAY. Seriously. We IMMEDIATELY turned the wrong way. OUT OF THE PARKING LOT. Alice had to patiently fix us and get us back to her house.

Posted by joshilyn at October 14, 2004 5:49 AM

Wow! I, too, can barely navigate around my usual neighborhood, and my eyes and ears work just fine. She BABYSITS her grandkids??

Posted by: Mir at October 14, 2004 8:51 AM

Neo on/


Neo off/

seriously and wow.

Posted by: Klint at October 14, 2004 9:18 AM

People are amazing.
Simply Amazing.

Posted by: Shawn B. at October 14, 2004 11:05 AM

Frickin amazing. Wow!

Posted by: AGK at October 14, 2004 6:27 PM