Friday, March 01, 2013

Carol's Language Fetish

Carol always wanted to learn a foreign language, so she signs up at the community college to learn Mandarin, but Chinese is a tonal language and Carol is tone deaf.  So she drops the course in favor of learning American Sign Language because she always wanted to be able to send secret signals to others without being overheard. She wonders if it is possible to be overseen, but registers anyway.

She is afraid of being listened to and what that means.

She practices in the mirror, pretends that her reflection is deaf and wonders if the image is impressed with her fluency.

No one ever visits her though, and over time, she realizes that knowing other languages does not, in itself, promote understanding, just the potential for understanding, and she remembers a time when she was out in public at her favorite Indian Restaurant eating her dal makhani, when another woman fainted, driven to convulsions by some spice in the chutney, how she secretly prayed that someone would need a person who knew ASL, but it never happened. Not once as long as she frequented that restaurant did it happen. They just called 9-1-1 instead and she watched three very handsome and muscular Latino EMTs perform CPR as though this woman were an organ and they were holding a concert until they brought the woman back to life.  The woman, as it turns out, was not deaf and did not even know what ASL was.


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