Friday, November 16, 2007

Family Hour Re-Cap & Weird Traits I Picked Up

I'm sick this week so won't be telling any stories on the "Family Hour with Auntie Sara" show. So, here's a little re-cap and something I will tell on next week's show instead.

Over the past few Fridays, I've told stories about:

• my pot smoking parents, weed growing brother and Charlie Brown, my marijuana plant eating horse;

• my Dad's dating advice to me when I was fifteen ("Don't Fu*k");

• taking my husband to prison in Huntsville, Texas to meet my Dad who is serving 20 years for almost decapitating his girlfriend; and

• Dad ratting me out to the warden after he got busted with the gum I smuggled in for him.

And as fun and off the wall as that might be I haven't even touched on the one thing that I grew up with since the day I was born: my whole family is deaf. My mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, everyone except my only brother and cousins are deaf and were all born that way.

The first thing people usually ask me is, "How do you say [insert curse word] in sign language." But after that novelty wears off, some of the more obscure, weird traits I like telling people about growing up with my deaf parents are:

-- That I walk around on my tiptoes all the time.

These days, I'm actually known for always wearing high heels. It just feels natural. In fact, on 9/11, I emailed my friends and family to say I'd made it home safely after walking home over the 59th Street Bridge. My friend Tom wrote back, "In those heels?!"

What does this have to do with deaf parents, you ask? Well, most of our time in Montgomery, we lived in a trailer that was lifted off the ground a couple of feet. Since a trailer is basically just paper and tin, every little vibration was exaggerated...especially footsteps.

I always walked on my tip toes but didn't realize it until one day I was fighting with my brother. I was poised to throw a plastic pitcher at his face and he turned and ran full speed but on his tip toes. Mind you he's well over six feet tall so I thought it was hilarious to see his giant gangly frame running away on tippy toes. That's when it struck me that I was chasing after him on my tip toes, too. It was something he and I instinctively did so as not to disturb our parents or get busted when we were up to no good.

Like when I snuck out of the house, I would shout at the top of my lungs, "Hey Mom! Hey Dad! I'm leaving!" But then I would very gingerly shut the door so as not to shake the trailer.

-- That I can read lips.

Growing up watching deaf people talk with their hands while moving their mouths without any sound coming out just trained me, I guess. I'm so good at it that my husband likes to play a game where he mouths out a sentence and I have to guess the phrase. He tries to trick me by coming up with outlandish / nonsensical phrases for me to decipher like "I lick giraffes every morning for breakfast." I nearly got us beaten up after I excitedly shouted out one answer on the subway. Apparently saying, "Dog vagina taste best served on Trisquits," around children is "Not cool, yo!"

-- That *some* deaf adults don’t know how loud they are....during sex.

To this day when I hear the theme song for the "Smurfs" the first thing I think of has nothing to do with Gargamel. Every Saturday morning my cartoon marathon was interrupted by a smattering of noises I care not to imitate for you today. I responded by cranking up the volume as loud as possible and when my mom put her hearing aids in she would be like, "Kambri! Why do you have the TV turned up so loud?"

One time, my parents, brother and I shared a hotel room with a deaf couple from France who were in town for the World Deaf Bowling Tournament. Around two or three in the morning my brother shook me awake, "Kambri, look!" The French people were going at it. I dove my head under my covers while my brother watched the whole show. In the morning, we told our mom what we saw. She immediately told the French lady, "my kids saw you having sex." The French lady replied, "Did you like it?"

ACK! Crazy hippies.


LaRonda said...

Farout! You're a great writer and your stories are funny and poignant. I think we all have family members or relatives with stories like this. It touches the heart-stone in us all.

Keep writing. You're terrific!

~ LaRonda

Anonymous said...

Your stories are entertaining. They are so different from others because your experiences are unique. I always come to read your stories. You're very talented.

Dianne K

Anonymous said...

QQ, how do you feel about talking with deaf people who DON'T move their mouths? OR WORSE.. when their mouth movements don't match what they're saying? drives me nuts.

btw, i adore your writing. i can't wait till our paths cross one day.. because they will. like you said, small deaf world.

stephanie walker