Thursday, September 9, 2010

Signs of the Future (title for now)

I was exhausted...but not in a bad way.  I had just came from a workshop called "Learning for Life: Web-based Skill-Building Modules".  It was a job skills workshop that left me both exhausted.and exhilherated!

Most of the workshops that I have or will go to have two times: one, for the deaf and one, (in the afternoon) for the hard of hearing.  That afternoon, the facilitator signed the whole workshop and an interpreter was on hand to interpret Karen's spirited signing and for those of us (only two) who were hard of hearing and didn't understand ASL (American Sign Language).  That will be yet another course I want to take and am already trying (when I can) to practice some of it.

Was there silence in that little room?  Oh, no!  It was actually pretty noisy and exciting.  When you get six people signing all at once(including the interpreter), it's very noisy!  Donna also signed anything I or Joanna wanted to ask or say. 

I looked back and forth between Karen and Donna, trying, alternatively, to listen to Karen and to read Donna's lips.

I'd been to many employment skills workshops since my youth, but nothing, nothing, came close to today's feeling of wanting to be prepared for work.  I felt validated, hearing the stories of other people's struggles with employment; for instance, bosses that don't want to take the time or trouble to listen a little longer or provide what could help the employee perform their job better.  It was also good to hear that I wasn't the only one, where people just assumed I could read lips.  I do better than I used to, but I still have a ways to go and need to ask repeatedly what people say.  Some say "just talking to myself" or "never mind."  They don't help with communication.  I really want to hear what people say.

I still have over a week of more workshops and look forward to them all!  It is so empowering to be around so many great people with different ranges of hearing loss.  The facilitator can drive!  I know, I shouldn't be surprised, but one of the reasons I've held off on getting my license is my inabiltiy to hear some sounds behind me.  If Karen can do it, so can I!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kitsilano High

I am at Arbutus Coffee on Arbutus and West 6th.  I'm sitting on a bench at a wobbly table outside the coffee house.

I'm trying not to get a free high from the fellow around the corner smoking weed.  Luckily, he is away from the main entrance of the coffee house.  Because I am going, in an hour, to the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I don't want to be even slightly stoned.  That stuff is pretty potent--I still smell it. 

My table is right across the street from another old building, probably a store in the original incarnation, now set up as apartments. It has bay windows and has been maintained well by whoever owns it with great respect for the time it was built. 

Talk about a high--I"m looking at a side of Arbutus with a long row of cottage-style old homes, mature trees, and a pinscher cross, who trots happily towards me even though he is on a leash.  He becomes a friendly companion for a short time and I pet him, his intelligent eyes looking up at me.

There are modern apartment buildings in this area as well, but they do not grab my imagination or yearning.  Then again, anything to someday live here, sitting outside a coffee house, feeling high without weed.