I Am Borg – guest post by my Hobbit/Sam Campbell III

Sometimes being part Cyborg is worth it. Noelle asked me to put on my cochlear implant so that she could tell me (ie: complain) about her day at work. So she was telling me (ie: complaining) about her day at work when, suddenly, her voice changed mid-sentence like this:

“…and they hired this guy to do the database and — OHMIGOD it’s a HUMMINGBIRD!”

But reading it doesn’t really do it justice. The change in her voice from “my day kind of sucked” to “OHMIGOD a hummingbird! The world is WONDERFUL” just cannot be captured in text.

When I wear my CI, I am not really hearing, but I’m not really deaf either.

I am Borg. I have been assimilated.

Not All Spanish Speakers Understand ASL

The big problem I now have with Spanish is that I’m so used to hearing it along with ASL (because our deaf friends from the LDS Deaf Branch we attend are mostly Mexican and speak Spanish while signing in ASL) that when I try to explain myself to someone who speaks Spanish (primarily) I end up signing to them as if they also understand ASL, so they’ll understand me better.

I did it again today.  The tree guy came to give us an estimate on our trimming.  And as I was trying to explain our other needs and wants, he gave me the ‘look’ that says “I’m not quite understanding you.”  So what did I do? I started signing.

It only took me a moment (and his odd look at me) to realize what I was doing, and speak what little Spanish I can remember (I grew up around Spanish speakers in my extended family) to clarify.  It’s such a habit now, I find myself doing it all the time, without even realizing it.

 

Define Normal

The Hobbit and I went to go see the Hobbit movie in matching Hobbit T-Shirts at the Memorial City Mall in Houston on New Years Day.

When my Hobbit is using his cane, people get out of the way, which is kinda nice–by that, I mean it shows that people are still considerate when they understand the situation.  Someone (who wasn’t handicapped) was sitting in the handicapped seats right in the middle of the theater.  They got up when they saw us coming and moved into the normal seating.  I thought that was nice.

The trailers started, and since my Hobbit isn’t fully blind, but remembering he is fully deaf without his cochlear implant, he can sometimes read and understand the huge words that stream on the screen.  We were watching a Mini Cooper commercial:  – the end of this commercial says “Who wants to be normal?” – my Hobbit read that and said out loud: Me!

For me it was a moment of clarity.  I know that my Hobbit really hates when people admire him for his ability to endure his disabilities.  He thinks somehow they are feeling pity for him, instead of actually admiring his skills, albeit skills that are not ‘normal’ for most of us.  That is where the clarity came:  One man’s normal is another man’s extraordinary.

I love my Hobbit (obviously).  My life has been ‘not normal’ for several years now and I think it has improved vastly because of it.  I have learned a new language, my writing has improved, my adventures are almost daily, and I have a kingdom of my own filled with magic windows, Hobbits (at least one of my own), bogs of Eternal Stench (the kids room), and so much more.

I’m glad for not being normal.

But… then again… I’ve never thought of myself as normal.  Have you?