“Is anybody there?”

“Does the name Linda mean anything to you?”
This was a phrase from a Clairvoyant at one of my work events a few weeks back. She’d start her ‘acts’ by saying this phrase to a member of the audience, to see if they have any relations to that person. Well for starters, it sounds a bit like a fraud to me, because there are many Lindas in this country, so it is very likely that we would know one! It could’ve been Linda down the road, or an Auntie Linda, or Linda the celebrity on TV?! So the audience member picks the closest Linda they can think of. In this case, her colleague who passed away last week. Anyway, she would then go on to saying, “Oh I am connecting with Linda, she wants to tell you that she misses you, and she’s okay.”
Us deafies, we take conversation very literally sometimes. I was sitting at the back with my family, and my mum was trying to interpret – but she was too busy laughing her head off to do a good job of it! All I was getting from her was- “She’s talking to a dead Linda, but she’s okay” – My reaction: (shocked) “Well she’s not okay if she’s dead, for God’s sake! I’m sure she’d prefer to be alive?!” That’s until I heard the full story then I understood it!
Mum was trying her best to summarise what the Psychic was saying but she was struggling due to the random nature of the content. Her communication with those that had ‘passed’ jumped from one unrelated subject to another, like something about budgies to green tablecloths!? Mum gave up interpreting, but it was about time anyway as we got told off for talking! (We were ‘too distracting’ for her, whilst she was trying to ‘connect with the spirit world’!)
I guess, with experience, I’m trying to highlight the complexities of communication. Say for example, sarcasm. I do not get it at all, and isn’t helped by the fact that my mum, grandad and brother are huge fans of the ‘lowest form of wit’ – (As my mum has just explained, it is apparently a phrase commonly used to describe sarcasm?!) Along with irony, proverbs, idioms, clichés… the list goes on! My Teacher of the Deaf told me, “you have to put your head above the parapet”, when we were talking about taking risks in life. I was like “What are you on about!?” When we’re concentrating so hard on understanding the gist of a sentence, these stupid, pointless and weird phrases really don’t help! Mum’s always firing these strange phrases at me to try and demonstrate her view e.g. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”- to mean don’t put all your efforts into one thing, because if you drop the basket, you’ll smash the eggs… and I thought, what’s my job got to do with eggs?
To try to illustrate my point, making sense of speech when you’re deaf involves a hell of a lot of guesswork. If you miss the main subject of the sentence, it could mean anything, and you are just lost, so you end up making it all up and usually get it wrong!
My mum is a communicator guide for the Deafblind, and believes that the emphasis is on her to make herself understood, the same should be with other hearing people. If deaf people don’t get it, it’s not their fault. Communication is a two-way process after all!
What are your thoughts?
Love E x

6 thoughts on ““Is anybody there?”

  1. I totally get this. Explaining the complexities of language to my son is becoming increasingly difficult. Did you struggle with maths concepts? This is an area that we struggling with, even though he is only in Gr.2!

    Liked by 1 person

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