This afternoon Chris (one of my roommates) invited me and Danny (my other roommate) to his house to celebrate his grandmother’s birthday. I thought it was inappropriate to attend the birthday party of someone else’s grandma, but Chris’ mother insisted that we should come. I am glad I did. It was a very…. interesting experience.
I had already met Chris’ father and mother during move-in. His mom cleaned the entire apartment, which was supposed to have been cleaned and painted before we moved in. I knew it wouldn’t be, though. We’re college kids getting an apartment. Did anyone REALLY think that it would be cleaned?
His father, as I speculated during move-in from his overall demeanor, is quite intellectual. He seems to be a bookworm, and as such, has a vast array of knowledge on a variety of subjects. He can pretty much fit in to any conversation and have something intelligent to add. I guess it just kind of caught me off guard. In college, you don’t often meet people who are so well informed.
One of Chris’s sisters is Deaf. She can speak and seems to understand some speech either by lip-reading, a slight ability to still hear, or a combination of both. However, she still uses ASL (American Sign Language) almost exclusively, sometimes combined with vocalization. It seems to be a very efficient language, as she can say long sentences in only a few signs, probably through some form of abbreviation.
Evidently, the Deaf community sometimes gives people name signs. I don’t quite understand what these are, but they seem to be shorthand versions of a person’s name. They were talking about some kid who went to a school and his name sign looked like he was shooting a gun. His name was Hunter. The school, ludicrous as most schools are, actually banned the sign from use. What the heck? The school system is stupid.
It was interesting to see ASL used. This was my first time seeing it, and it was quite possibly a rare occurrence. Chris’ sister is planning to attend Gallaudet, a Deaf university in Washington, D.C.
As awesome as ASL and the Deaf community is, that’s not the reason why everyone was there. We were there for grandma’s 88th birthday party!
Chris’s grandma is hilarious because of how stereotypical she is. She has a strong Bostonian accent, stark personality, loves older music, and generally dislikes modern music, claiming that you can’t even understand what they’re saying. She’s like one of those grandma’s you see in late-night sitcoms. I could almost hear the audience clapping and laughing in the background.
Other company included Chris’ uncle and aunt, Snickers the dog (who wakes Chris’ sister up since she can’t hear alarm clocks), and the chinchilla. What? You’ve never seen a chinchilla before?
We ate spaghetti and cake, gave out presents, and Danny and I got attacked with questions. Oh, and grandma got drunk with wine. But I won’t talk about that.
You know, it’s funny. I have always wanted to learn ASL, and over this past summer my interest in it increased dramatically. I read information on Deaf culture, Deaf history, and even learned the ASL alphabet. Now, after five days of being back in Boston, I meet someone in the Deaf community.