Finally Learning the Right Fingerspelling

Finally learning the right fingerspelling. A few times a week I have my lunch in a local restaurant just to break up my lonely writer routine of staying inside all the time. Sometimes I run into people I know, sometimes not, it depends. I let my socializing be a coincidence instead of assuring I would have company by calling people up and setting a date. I do not even own a mobile phone, thus I am extremely easy-going in this respect. It is probably the only aspect of my life, in which I am so unconcerned.

So, the other day I ran into my neighbor, who is deaf from birth, but very well educated. She reads a lot and likes to solve crossword puzzles. She can even speak, but unfortunately in such a special way that I do not understand her. She reads my lips and then she rephrases it in her own words. Of course I do not understand it and then she tries the fingerspelling or the deaf-mute hand alphabet. Which I do not or did not understand either. That way I do not know, if she has read my lips correctly. And, of course, I never know for sure, what she wants to tell me herself.

I used to know one of the manual alphabets as a teenager, when I had been volunteering at an institution for deaf children, but I have forgotten most of it. I even tried finding it on the internet, but I discovered that there are many varieties of hand alphabets and none of them seemed familiar. I even learned one of them because it said it was the official Slovene one, but discovered later that it was not the one my neighbor uses. Once we communicated by writing down sentences in a paper notebook. It seemed awkward as well.

So there we were, sitting at lunch together, only half-understanding each other by me trying to remember the old manual alphabet from my teenager years and thus trying to understand her fingerspelling; and by her trying to speak slowly and show me the hand signs for individual letters slowly, each interchangeably. Some things I understood slightly, some not at all. I accepted the fact that it was not going to get better.

We must have been ‘speaking’ like this for half an hour, when a most amazing thing happened. She started to show me the type of hand letter alphabet she uses from A to Z and I repeated after her. I am quite sure this is the variety I had been taught as a teenager, because I re-learned it very quickly. I have been repeating it a few times a day ever since, because I really do not want to lose this precious knowledge.

I am so happy I can finally communicate with my neighbor clearly. It was a wish come true. And like many wishes in life, it came true after having given up all hopes.

Take care,

Helena Smole, author of:

– a fantasy novel with romance Vivvy and Izzy the Dwarf: A series about relationships

Balancing the Beast, a book offering a bright view of schizoaffective disorder ˗ bipolar or manic-depressive type

2 Responses to “ “Finally Learning the Right Fingerspelling”

  1. Sam says:

    This is awesome! I strongly feel it’s esential that hearing people no matter the barriers find ways to connect with deaf people, and really anyone with any other disabilities where one would think connection would not be posible. I am totally blind and have a friend who is totally deaf. We text and facebook mesage. I unfortunately can’t have in person contact with her right now but I’m learning ASL. So great this has opened up a world of connection between you.

  2. Helena Smole says:

    Thank you, Sam, for your comment. It’s really amazing how you find ways to communicate. Keep up the good work! Take care, Helena

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