Monday, September 10, 2007

It's a Small (Deaf) World, After All

When I was about 19, I moved to Ohio and worked as a teller during the day while attending paralegal school at night. An older deaf couple we'll call the Wilsons regularly visited the bank but never came to my window. Finally, one day I saw them come in and I waved them over. Of course, the first question the husband asked was how I knew ASL.

"Mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunts & uncles, everyone all Deaf," I told them.

Of course, the second & third questions were what my last name was and where I was from. I told them Crews but my mother's family surname is Worth, and I had just moved from Texas but that my family all lived in Oklahoma. He contemplated that for a moment before he asked, "Do you know a Carlus Worth from Tulsa?"

"YES! He's my grandfather!" Turns out, they worked together at a plant in Tulsa for many years before this gentlemen retired and moved to Ohio. This Deaf world is small, isn't it?

After that, the Wilsons visited my window every time they needed to do some banking. One day he told me, "I told my friend you worked here and knew ASL so he came with me. He'll be over to your window in a minute."

I completed his transaction and said goodbye as the next customer approached.

"I'm Deaf, too," the customer signed.

"Oh," I signed, "You must be friends of the Wilsons."

"No, I don't know them." He replied, puzzled.

"Oh, I'm sorry," I apologized. "The Wilsons just left my window and said they had friends here, but this must be a coincidence." I finished his transaction and waved goodbye as the next customer approached.

"Hello, I'm Deaf," the customer signed with a smile.

"Oh," I signed, "You must be friends of the Wilsons."

"No, I don't know them or the other man you helped."

"Huh, wow, who knew this tiny little town outside of Akron had so many Deaf people!" We laughed and chatted as I finished her transaction.

This went on for at least three more customers! What the heck was happening?

As I waved goodbye to a Deaf woman when the next customer, an elderly man, approached and signed, "Hello, I'm friends of the Wilsons, they told me you could help me."

"Oh, finally! I was beginning to wonder!" I helped him with his banking and waved him goodbye as the next customer approached very hesistantly.

He seemed very timid before he asked, "Can you hear?"


A Deaf Pundit said...

LMAO! That is one funny story! And so typical of hearing people. :)

Anonymous said...

You are talented at storytelling. I enjoyed reading your posts. That story about deaf customers at the bank is really good. :)

Anonymous said...

Loved it! A true slice of life when you are a member of two cultures...proof is when Deaf have to ask the BIG question, "you hearing?"

Anonymous said...

Oh hell yeah. It's way small. Sometimes I have to stop myself from approaching every deaf person I see and ask them "Do you know my parents?!"