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Oh. My. God.
Has it been this long since my last post? My few faithful readers will have evaporated.
Anyone else hearing this hollow echoing sound kinda thing? No? Just me then? Hm.
Anyway. I’m back. I guess.
Coffee anyone? Well, I’ll have one. Or two. ‘Scuse me for a sec.
Where was I?
Some of you (you know who you are) will be aware of my latest “obsession”.
It’s not my fault! I was just looking for stuff with Marlee Matlin in on Youtube, and somehow I ended up at this teen series, Switched at Birth. To give Youtube credit, the series does have Marlee Matlin in, so there. It’s all good. *coughs frantically*
Look, it’s not my fault that all the stuff allowed to stay up on Youtube seem to be videos edited by lovestruck 13-year-olds. Well, at least the comments were definitely left by…… ok, let’s not go there.
I’m getting old, am I?
So, I have finally managed to watch season 1 of Switched at Birth.
Well, it’s for teenagers. So there’s complicated see-sawing relationships and impressive numbers of boyfriends per girl over a rather short period of time. Right. Exactly the kind of thing I never understood about teen series, even way back when I was in the right age bracket. It just seems to be a thing that has to happen in them. God knows why.
I sure don’t.
Let’s get to the thing that gave the series its name. It’s kind of self-explanatory. In a busy hospital an overworked nurse accidentally swapped two baby girls with each other.
Fast-forward several years to the beginning of the series, and young Bay Kennish finds out through her school biology class that her blood type doesn’t match that of her parents. A DNA test confirms she is not their daughter, and the other girl, Daphne Vasquez, and her single mother are found and contacted.
Funnily enough, when someone was talking on tv a while ago about some swapped babies, my dear sister and me agreed that if that fact wasn’t discovered immediately, just swapping them back would be a rather weird solution, as raising a child effectively makes it yours. And that only staying in very close contact with the other family would be something that would work in our opinion.
Well, that’s kind of what happens in the series; when Ms. Vasquez is threatened with eviction from her home the Kennishes suggest that she and Daphne move into their guest house (yeah, the family of one of the girls is stinking rich) and they all more or less try to get to know each other and become one big family.
So there’s an interesting story right there. How do the parents deal with the situation? How do the girls themselves feel about it?
Bay’s brother sure seems to settle pretty quickly into having two sisters instead of just one. Good for him. Well done, that lad! If he’s lucky that’ll make up for the points I subtracted for his dumb behaviour when he first met Emmett. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The other - what shall we call it? - twist to the story is that a severe case of meningitis at age 3 left Daphne deaf. Once we get past all the “Would that have happened in our good, rich household?” and “Mom was probably too drunk to take her to the hospital in time” crap we can focus on what Daphne brings to the storyline: Her own deaf yet (orally) speaking self of course, her best friend Emmett, their school and ASL. Lots and lots of American Sign Language. This is definitely something you can’t just watch while doing the dishes cos every so often it will go rather quiet and you’ll have to hurry over to read the subtitles.
I like that in itself because I think whenever somebody does remember that there’s people out there who are not “the norm” or whatever is considered as such that issue then becomes their sole focus. Now, I’m not saying that these kind of movies etc don’t have their time and place as well, but come on, that’s not really how real life is working, is it?
So that’s what I really like about the series. Yeeeees, it does focus on the topic in some way, like showing prejudices and rude/stupid behaviour (*winks at Bay’s brother*) and all that, and it’s hard to judge whether or not they’re overdoing it or not but overall I think that’s unfortunately just the way it is. The series doesn’t feel like focusing on deaf issues though, they just happen to be one part of the story. Am I making sense? Not so sure there right now myself. I hope I am.
Aaaand I really like some of the characters. Definitely Emmett. Daphne too. About Bay I am not so sure; she can be rather stupid at times.
One other thing it does, the series. Make me mad that sign language isn’t generally taught at school. Or at least offered.
I mean, are we just going to go on expecting every deaf person to bother with learning to read our lips and to talk?
Well, no, I was already thinking that before watching the series. But the series - or rather seeing a lot of signing happening - made me realize that while I might have had a chance of learning it at a young age I would probably totally mess it up nowadays due to my stupid lack of being properly able to visualize stuff. And let’s get real, we become less and less flexible when getting older, don’t we?
Sign language does have a certain fascination though, and the ASL sign for “zombie” nearly had me fall off of my chair laughing. I wonder what the German one is…?
Moving to some people’s perception of deaf people…
Today I stumbled across this tweet by the guy who plays Emmett in the series:
Yeah, cos deaf people can’t live on their own or what? I guess chalking that one up to lack of communication/contact doesn’t cut it though. A special kind of stupid might be required for a remark like that as well.
Speaking of stupid.
At work I am seeing quite a lot of deaf people on a regular basis - which is where my vague “wish I knew sign language” thought actually originated - and now that we all know that those poor handicapped little mites have to fend for themselves out there without the loving shelter of group homes I finally understand why they’re out there doing all of their own shopping.
A short time ago this older man came in again, and, yeah, he is really hard to understand, but when he’s saying something sounding like “Daaaag” when coming in I’m assuming it’s a greeting and when he’s saying something sounding the same when I’m handing him his change I’d say it’s a fair bet he means “Danke” (thank you). He wouldn’t have to try and say anything; others don’t.
No big deal, right?
Wrong. The moment the door had closed behind him the boss - who had happened to be around - made fun of him. Both of the “Daaaag” and him having been rather rude/odd and not saying anything else. When I tried to explain that the guy was deaf and that it was mayyyyybe not so easy to learn how to vocalize if you can’t actually hear yourself, his reply merely was: “Well, when I put my hands over my ears I can’t hear myself talk either.”
Errrrr, rrrrrright. Have you ever actually tried…..? Ok, never mind.
*sits down and starts to bang head on desk in remembrance of the moment*