Deaf To Their Own Ignorance

, , , , , , , | Friendly | April 19, 2019

(My wife and I speak fluent American Sign Language since we have some deaf relatives and a number of deaf friends. Sometimes we use sign rather than speaking out loud, whether we’re home or we’re out. It’s good practice to keep sharp, and it has some other benefits. One night we are out to dinner at a crowded but classy restaurant. After ordering and receiving our food, we begin signing to each other. Another couple is then seated at the table next to us. It’s impossible not to overhear them unless we were truly deaf.)

Man: “Look, those two are deaf and dumb.”

(My wife and I physically shudder so hard that I think he might notice. “Deaf and dumb” is a very old and ignorant expression. The couple continues making comments about us as they order and start to eat, amid other conversation. Here are a few remarks.)

Man: “Do you think they can drive? I don’t think they should be allowed.”

Woman: “Do you think they can have kids?”

Man: “Flopping their hands like that is stupid; they should just learn to lip-read.”

Woman: “How can they read the menu? The restaurant must have one in braille.”

Man: “They look so weird. Why did they even come here?”

(Our server comes up to check on us)

Server: “How are you doing? Do you two need anything?”

Me: *speaking, loud and clear* “We’re doing great! Thanks. Just the bill soon, I think.”

Wife: *speaking, loud and clear* “The food was great. My compliments to the chef.”

(The other couple just sat there staring for a few moments. It seemed to take forever for them to come to the realization that we could hear them the entire time. The man seemed almost offended, and even sputtered a few times, as if wanting to say something to us, but neither actually said another word. My wife and I, however, were able to continue signing freely about how ignorant they were, and how fun it was to see their reaction. How can anyone be so dense as to think deaf people can’t have kids?! Of everything they said, that was the worst.)

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