Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick Takes - Enemy of the deaf

Damn, lady, I don't know you. Please stop fogging up my glass.

I used to be able to sign ASL conversationally in college. One of my best friends grew up next to a deaf kid and, therefore, had learned ASL to talk to his neighbor (he was a language buff and spoke five languages, so it's not like it was that hard for him). He taught ASL to me so we could use it on the el riding around noisy Chicago, and it actually worked really well. But one day, I was at a car show in Chicago and a deaf woman came up to me with an alphabet card asking if I could help her. I froze up. I knew sign language, but I couldn't remember any of it when I actually had to use it. I looked at her and said, out loud, "I'm sorry!" despite the fact that a) she was deaf and b) I knew sign language. She walked away, and I've never felt more ashamed in my life. I let down the deaf that day.

Fast forward years later to the Seattle Aquarium. It was 4 p.m., and the staff was preparing to feed their two giant pacific octopi, Noodles and Mae (Noodles > Mae in terms of octopus naming). I like to think I have an instinct for photography, it served me well in high school and college photojournalism, and so I scoped out a location that I thought would be perfect for taking pictures of the larger of the two octopi, a 45-lb. behemoth (the largest giant pacific octopus ever caught was 437 lbs., so she wasn't that big, I guess), and when some woman in a long tweed trenchcoat finally moved away from my scouted location, I slipped in and began shooting. I got some incredible shots, only to find out a few minutes later that I had, once again, let down a deaf person.

The woman in the tweed trenchcoat was deaf and had an ASL interpreter with her there. I would've never seen it, but my girlfriend informed me that, after I slipped into the open space in front of the octopus tank and began taking pictures, the deaf woman was furious that I would dare to block her camera-phone shots of the octopus ... even though she got up and gave me the space to shoot ... and there was no way for me to know she was there.

Behind my back, she was huffing and puffing and signing furiously to her interpreter, who was telling her to calm down and that it was okay. A few minutes passed and I ended up next to the deaf woman again, who started telling one of the employees at the aquarium about her personal experience snorkeling and seeing an octopus. It was the least interesting story ever ("I was snorkeling and saw one."), but because she was deaf, you had to pay attention and stand there until she was done. I think this woman is onto something, but that's beside the point, all the puzzle pieces had finally come together. She wasn't mad because I blocked her shot -- she'd been sitting in prime camera position for like five minutes before she got up and I started shooting -- she was upset because she thought she had some sort of higher personal connection with the octopus than I did, that because I'd never seen one snorkeling like she had, that I didn't deserve to take pictures or get as close to it as she did. The octopus was hers; not mine.

  • Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman died Monday morning in his homeland of the Netherlands after police found him stabbed and bleeding and were unable to resuscitate him. There's nothing you can really say about a promising 24-year-old outfielder who was brutally murdered to death by his own brother (allegedly). I'm just deeply saddened by his death. He was one of my favorite Mariners prospects, a five-tool player who'd done relatively well in limited action in the major leagues, and someone with a lot of character who was always a great interview on radio or TV. I was really looking forward to him playing for the big club again this year and continuing to grow and mature as a player, and it's just beyond-words-shitty that someone, especially his own brother, would take his life away. Greg Halman had all the potential in the world to be a superstar outfielder for the Mariners, and I'm going to miss seeing him play next season. This is all just so surreal.
  • Justin Verlander has done it. The Cy Young award winner has locked up the AL MVP this year too, making him the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to win the league's Most Valuable Player award. Personally, I don't think a pitcher should ever win the MVP, regardless of his stats, because a) pitchers already have their own "best pitcher" award, the Cy Young, which is given out to the one pitcher in each league (yes, hitters have "Silver Sluggers" too, but those are one per position and aren't even remotely on the same scale as a Cy Young award), and b) because pitching every five days, even if you're lights out, isn't the same as both hitting and fielding in 162 games. But let's get honest, handing out an award centered around "value" that uses arbitrary measurements to qualify what value even means isn't exactly the most scientifically-accurate approach.
  • Hey Seahawks fans, would you rather have Tarvaris Jackson or Sam Bradford as your quarterback right now? I'd put my money on Jackson for $4m a season and spend the rest of my cash on a better team. Like the one the Rams lost to on Sunday. It definitely makes you think about the NFL Draft though. The Seahawks will presumably finish outside of the top 10 in draft order, leaving them the second tier of available rookie quarterbacks after Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, and Landry Jones are all taken in the top 10. Wouldn't you rather stick with Jackson and use that 10th or 11th pick in the NFL Draft on a top tier pass rusher instead of forcing a move for a QB that probably isn't worth the draft position and subsequent contract he'd get if drafted above his market value?
  • Outspoken New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has been fined $75,000 by the NFL for swearing at a fan during halftime of a tough loss to the New England Patriots eight days ago. A Pats fan told Ryan that New England head coach Bill Belichick was better than him as he walked down the tunnel, to which Ryan responded, "Shut the fuck up!" Seems like a reasonable response, and at $18,750 a word, he did really well to keep it brief.
  • LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony are set to head a four-city "Homecoming Tour" next month as the NBA lockout continues to press the red button. I would honestly rather watch Saer Sene get his wingspan measured over and over again than watch LeBron and friends play "basketball" in their home cities. They might need to do it like pinball and just put multiple balls out on the court to keep everyone happy, otherwise it'll just turn into four grown men wrestling on the floor over who gets to shoot. Or, in the case of the Akron stop, four grown men huddled together to avoid flying beer cups. Any way we can get Metta World Peace to join the tour to keep everything calm and non-violent?

No comments:

Post a Comment