Friday, December 08, 2006

my heart which is bruised but unbeaten

I was sitting at a Christmas party last night zealously working my way through the mince pies when I asked an innocent question. About the sign for 'robot', as it happens. This led to a deeply political debate about cochlear implants which I have known was coming for years. I have prepared for this. My preparation involved practising keeping my mouth firmly shut and nodding. I'm on the fence about cochlear implants, work with kids who have them, kids that don't, and I know the person who was talking about them. She has exceptionally strong views on the subject which she is entirely entitled to; and is the sort of person with whom you can't win an argument about the existance of an egg plant, let alone something as politically hot (in the deaf world at least) as a cochlear implant.

So fine. I keep out of the arguments, as I understand the delicate balance between friendly relationships and full-out war. Call it self-preservation. Call it cowardice. Whatever.

Except. Sitting to my right is a woman of such crushing inanity that I have trouble agreeing with her about just about anything. She says the weather is awful? I say I like the wind and rain. She likes cake? I prefer crisps. It's like a twitch, and I'm not the only one that does it. Sometimes you have to make your own entertainment to get yourself through the dark evenings. I know: I'm bad.

Unfortunately she opens up her mouth and wades knee-deep into the debate, spouting half-baked views of such deep stupidity that I am unable to contain myself, foole that I am. I raise my head above the parapet and disagree with her. In sign language. Shakily, because the moment I open my mouth (er, hands?) I realise that I have made a mistake of epic proportions.

I am treated to a 10 minute barrage of deaf politics from the left hand side. Everything that is wrong with the hearing world, every policy in my school, and probably the weather too is now my fault. I take it on the chin, which is made slightly easier by the fact that I only get two signs out of every three*. I do not bother to defend myself or my school, as I know that this is a pointless exercise which will only extend the pain. I belatedly remember the nodding and looking agreeable policy and put it into practise.

Fortuntely a fag break occurs and afterwards we move on. I now have to add x-ray fish to the list of things whose existance I have to prove by next January's classes.

I love my sign-language teacher, I genuinely love her. She scares me shitless.

*Two out of three!!Result!!

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