Was wandering the internet and finding so many interesting things that I got confused. Which direction do I go in?
This is the lesson I take from housework: don’t think about the fact that you’ve got all these things to do before the visitors get here. Just focus on hoovering the landing! Put the kettle on, hoover the other rooms, one by one. Then have a cup of tea! You get less tired and irritable if you stay in that relaxed frame of mind, and will be able to accomplish more.
The same thing should work when your attention is going different ways and trying to get its teeth into different things. Any lion could tell you that — you can’t chase down two zebras at once.
First blog post follows. Others might take a few days or weeks, depending on how far they have dispersed into the bush.
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So, let us say… I was thinking about how it might be possible for a severely or profoundly deaf person to get more involved in conversation with groups of normally hearing people. I don’t pretend to have found an answer to that, but the hunt goes on.
As I mentioned to a friend, groups are tricky. People can be genuinely keen to include you and they’ll say something like “I’ll write you notes,” but that’s not how conversations work. They need to fill any potentially awkward silences, even if that means talking while someone else is trying to write or read a note. I’ve seen my mother trying to keep me in the loop by writing something while all the time a friend is blethering away… it’s hard for her to keep both of us happy!
People might start with good intentions of including me, but soon slip back to their usual way of communicating.
Things might be better for future generations at a time when everybody is learning sign language at school — surely then people will be more included (and more easily included) than not. That’s all the hope I have.
In her essay, Rachel mentions how she sometimes feels guilt about going along with hearing conventions. You know it’s not simple, barely even possible, yet we go along with it, or try to. That sense of disquiet puts you at war with yourself. I wonder if I’d be happier if I rocked the boat more? On the other hand, you can’t engage with people or change anything by pitting yourself against them.
I know what she means when she speaks of complete communication breakdown hanging in the air — gosh, that feels bad. I had a dose of that a couple of days ago, which is what sparked off this entire blog post and my discovery of these links.
There’s a bit in the essay where someone starts typing on a cellphone and she feels like hugging him — it made me smile, remembering when the audiologist typed everything down on his computer monitor. The relief was amazing! You understand everything and it puts you at ease — you are more likely to laugh and engage, because the tension and awkwardness has been lifted and you feel more equal.
Anyway, I’d just got to that bit in the essay then caught the most fragile of squeaks at the edge of my hearing. Uncertain there’d been anything, I looked up and saw my mother’s grey cat staring at me.
She squeaked again — this time there was no doubt.
“Just a minute,” I said. “I’ll get it.”
When I returned with her box, she looked at it, unfurled her tail, and went unhurriedly to take possession. I left to give her privacy, and couldn’t help thinking it was ironic that I was reading about the difficulties of communicating with people, but had no problems with a single rusty squeak. It does help if you know what the topic of conversation is likely to be!
Another post I came across today was A Tear or a Smile.
Both topics in that — white lies and responsibility — have been engaging my thoughts a lot.
When important, white lies don’t solve anything — simply causing confusion and allowing problems to steadily get worse… much like somebody regularly buying a brand of beer you detest because she thinks you like it. When she discovers the truth, months or years down the line, she feels like a stupid klutz. I know this from personal experience!
You can build on honesty and respect, even if slowly, but anything else is a shaky foundation or a total waste ground… yes, perhaps like ‘communication breakdowns’ where I escape to my lair rather than try to find a way. Sometimes, I guess, we have to start from rock bottom.
As for responsibility — I’ve been reading how it all rests with us. When something needs to be fixed or changed, we must ‘man up’ and get on with it. No question. I think, however, that we are responsible not just for ourselves but each other, and it would be dangerous to lose sight of that. People can go through a huge amount of difficulty that you might never be made aware of. What are we learning if we sit silently, each side of a chasm, and smile? I don’t yet know.
I was sitting downstairs with our visitors over coffee, thinking “this could be quite nice,” but got bored because I didn’t have the slightest idea what anyone was talking about. It’s not really something you can bear for very long… the next time you look in the mirror your eyelids are heavy with sleep!
I found myself remembering what my audiologist said only a couple of months ago — “you will not be able to take part in normal conversation, but might be able to pick up some environmental sounds.”
People are odd when conversing politely; they look briefly when someone starts talking, then stare at the corners of the ceiling in a laid-back, thoughtful way. There isn’t a whole lot of eye contact going on, and that’s how I communicate, really. I wondered if I was breaking some social rule by looking round at everyone.
In the end I had to potter off… pretended I was just going to the kitchen, then disappeared upstairs! They said I didn’t have to go to lunch with them, so here I am.
I won’t say I’m relieved and cheerful that I’ve been let off the hook… it’s not that at all. You feel depressed for a time because you know you’re missing out. It’s not today’s lunch or conversation you regret so much as all the lunches and conversations in your life — the extra friendships you could have had. You still have friends, but there would have been more.
I will cheer up eventually, but you end up back at this place from time to time.
Computer room is still gathering dust. But my personal journal is having a little bit of boom time to itself!
Five days ago I noted a dream in which two little boys of 11 were hanging around in our driveway, up to no good. Livid, I seized them by their collars and frogmarched them halfway up the road, saying I’d call the police if they did the same thing again. But I could tell from their unimpressed expressions that they’d be even more likely to be bad on our property instead of someone else’s. Then Mum came home in her car and started taking bags of food out of the boot. She saw the two boys lingering nearby, and greeted them like old friends. Soon they were chatting away as though nothing had happened.
I had mixed feelings: relief that things had been smoothed over, understanding that Mum’s way was the best way (and that she genuinely liked the boys anyway), but also a feeling of frustration — because I wanted to approach things from her more relaxed angle, but couldn’t. I couldn’t relate to people the way she did — their ways, words and impulses were behind a thick veil. Despite best intentions, all I could express was my frustration (as a stranger rather than a friend and neighbour) and that only made things worse.
For Elizabeth’s writing challenge A Feeling of Harmony.
This is what I think… harmony comes when things are simple.
I had this thought lurking around yesterday when I was looking at the dA site for the first time in months. I had over 970 deviations waiting for me to view them… and this was after I had gone in and tweaked the settings to allow only some to get through to me.
There were comments, notifications, news articles, polls, journal posts (dA blog posts), notices of contests and contest winners. It’s often pleasant to feel surrounded by so much activity and life, but yesterday I couldn’t pause very long on anything. I glanced at about 80 of the deviations, scanned the news, skimmed 50 journals out of 250. Checked off all the notifications and messages. Two of my ‘colourings’ seem to be gaining a little more attention, even ending up in ‘glamour’ collections. Someone said she liked the colours of my last post. I like my last post too, but was impressed she had even looked, as the thumbnail is very dark and contrasty. What’s one dark thumbnail amongst thousands of bright and crisp ones?
I stopped long enough to comment on a fractal I really liked.
The profile pages have had some extensive tweaking by dA — I’ve not figured out the options yet, though there was a long news article explaining. I sort of ricochetted down it like a stone across water… trying to pay attention but not terribly involved. I figured I would come to each new thing gradually, and could come back to that page later.
Yes, there was so much there.
There was a journal entry from a fractal artist. She was expressing disappointment, disillusionment and a form of burn-out. She was not giving up or going away entirely, but she was withdrawing. She had to deal with too much and too many people, and hadn’t (she believed) made much headway in her own art, so she was going to disable comments and just upload the occasional item while she focused on her own attempts to improve.
One of her respondents said she’d taken time off herself, and had come back to such a backlog she felt she couldn’t post any work herself till she’s looked at everybody else’s.
Yes, that crossed my mind too. Everywhere, I saw words asking for some form of attention and involvement… do this; try that; view her photographs and his etchings; go to the chat room; join the club; nominate people; submit entries.
I felt sapped of all energy. You want to be involved in all this and to talk to everybody, and one person’s picture deserves as much attention as the next person’s, but it’s physically and mentally impossible. You realize you are at your best when you can pick out a few things and really concentrate on them. That’s when things hum along sweetly, and that, to my mind, is harmony. Peace, focus, natural communication and going with the flow. That will be the environment in which fractal artists don’t end up writing fractious posts about feeling split a thousand ways….
We can’t order this, though… people are like the tide. If we don’t want to be swamped, we have to organize our own boundaries, dams, sandbags etc. We have to choose our own paths. We don’t have to invite all of the water in, which we probably did to start with.
Harmony comes with simplicity… more is less… all that jazz. I’m sorry this post is so disjointed. The irony of it. 🙂
Part II of a writing challenge by Elizabeth at 1sojournal:
I hear: nothing… just a vague rumble. I can feel the house buzzing under my feet; it feels as though a wind is hitting the side of the house and getting underneath the floorboards. But it could be pipes or the water tank… I don’t know.
I removed my hearing aids because my ears were tired. Sometimes they get sore and I have to rest them for a day or two.
If Mum comes in behind me and wants my attention, she will stamp on the floor or thump the desk so that I feel the vibrations.
I regret: breaking things. Hurting feelings. Mishearing or misunderstanding things, or expressing myself poorly, especially when it leads to missed opportunities.
I always: support myself when going downstairs. When you live with cats, it’s sensible to be prepared!
I cry: as privately as possible. I hate funerals for that reason… I will never go to anyone’s funeral ever again if I can avoid it… but I will find my own way of remembering people. I read about those who fear people won’t come to their own funerals, and I don’t understand at all. I wouldn’t care. I will have escaped!
I don’t always: know what’s going on. In fact that’s such an understatement it’s almost funny. You miss cues and information about what everyone is doing and where they’re going. You wait for people to say goodbye to each other so that you can say goodbye too at the right moment. You wave when everyone surges forwards, only for the conversation to continue… or for those people to reappear (seemingly as arranged) at the next place. Then people finally leave, rushing off just as you’re looking the other way.
I fight: when I’m angry.
I write: more than I speak.
I was reminded again yesterday how difficult I find it to speak to someone when there’s no eye contact. It’s partly that I seem to have a mental block against addressing someone till they stop and look at me; other times I’m not sure whether they’re speaking to me or to someone else.
I was in a health food shop, looking for peanuts, but it was just my luck that they had one of those enormous storage trolleys set up beside the peanut rack (why, on a working, shopping middle-of-the-week day??) I was trying to look round it, and one of the two shop assistants came up next to me and faced me, talking (or rather gabbling), but when I turned to see if she was speaking to me, she was busying herself with some work, and her eyes were down. I still didn’t know if she was talking to me, or to the other girl, who was just round the corner and out of sight.
It wasn’t as though she was saying “can I help?” and waiting for an answer, as the words kept coming.
Mysterious. Maybe I should have pulled a Robert De Niro. His line in Taxi Driver is apparently:
That’s probably the only time you’ll ever see the f word on my blog. 🙂 It doesn’t mean I don’t use or think it… do you think they wrote that line for me?
The next thing I did was go to Currys to look at the PCs and laptops. My interest in buying one was fast dwindling, but I thought I might as well see what was there and how they looked. They must have been having a slow day, as two different salespeople came up and I had to say twice, “thanks, just looking.”
The thing I noticed about that was I didn’t hear them speaking, though I sensed them hovering. I looked round and their words floated away like bubbles… I always marvel that people can converse that way with each other at all; there is no sound! Not like the girl in the peanut shop, perhaps; I could hear her gabbling but not what she was gabbling. Perhaps the acoustics of the two shops are different; Currys was carpeted and dim; the peanuts shop is bright with hard flooring.
The thing about going out is that there’s always someone somewhere either speaking to you or to someone standing next to you. First you have to determine that someone is there, speaking; next you have to figure out whom they’re addressing, then (if it’s you) what it’s about. I get quite nervy in some shops; always looking over my shoulder to make sure there isn’t someone saying “excuse me!” – and when the shop assistants are yelling across the floor at each other, or scatting loudly about on high heels, I’m always keeping half an eye on that as well. Are they speaking to me; do they need me to move so I can get past…? I bet I give the appearance of a shoplifter checking to see if I’m being watched, but I’m just looking to see if you’re talking to me.