Slyfoot said he was half deaf, half blind, and half crazy. He said I drove him sane…
I didn’t think anything he said about himself was true. I was a realistic, but when it came to people, one on one, individually, I was an optimistic.
People say all sorts of weird things about themselves on the internet to make thems sound interesting. I’m not sure all those particular ‘half’s’ are all that interesting, but I thought it was just an attention grabber.
I didn’t know Slyfoot, or Sam as I came to know him later, irl (in real life). I just thought he was some gamer/hacker/computer geek who was way too into Linux and rosaries. I never put it all together until we started talking in earnest–and that didn’t happen until after the dream and we were making plans to get married. By that time it was too late. God had already let me set my own trap and watched quietly as I walked right into it.
I couldn’t blame Him. I had given him permission. I’d invited him to in a flippant moment. Truth be told, I had practically dared him to. I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, and I never imagined it would end up the way it did.
It all started two years after my divorce. I was in my mid thirties. I had four children, but only the two youngest lived with me: Erin, my daughter, and Josh, my youngest son. My two older boys, Benjamin and Bryce, lived with their father in the same area we had all lived together before the divorce: Katy, Texas.
At that time, I lived in the northwest of Houston in a decent, inexpensive (relatively speaking), townhome apartment, struggling as a single mother still having a difficult time with my ex, even two years after we split.
My father told me to start dating. At this time, my father had been divorced three times and married four times–twice to my mother. I told him I would work on that, with no intention of doing so. I gave the appearance of respect. I didn’t tell him that he was the last person I’d take advice on romance from, or that I couldn’t understand why he and my mother decided to get back together with him. But being my dad, I did listen and I thought about what he said, but not much more than that.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) we have Wards instead of a Parish. And instead of a parish priest, we have a Bishop. You can’t switch wards or bishops, as some people outside the Mormon church do, with some special exceptions.
None of the clergy in the Mormon church is paid.
Temples are not like Ward buildings, where Mormons meet every week to partake of the sacrament, attend Sunday School and auxiliary meetings. They are sacred places where ordinances are performed that tie us to our families for eternity and give a glimpse of heaven. Only worthy members, those with a recommend, are allowed in the temple. To obtain this recommend, members have to adhere to the Word of Wisdom–a guideline to a healthy, God directed/centered lifestyle–pay their tithing–1/10th of their increase, be interviewed and found worthy by your bishop and your stake president, who is a little like a Bishop of the several parishes in his district.
Sometime after my father had told me to start dating, I went in to my bishop for a temple recommend interview and he,Bishop Slack, told me that I needed to start dating. I laughed nervously and told him that my father had said the same thing just a few weeks earlier.
I made no commitments and didn’t do anything more about that admonition than I had my fathers.
When I went into the interview with the stake president, I didn’t expect much small talk. Stake Presidents have even less time to themselves, and more appointments to get to, than bishops. It was a bit of a surprise then, after the stake president started with the question on how my life had been–the trials of single motherhood, how hard that is in a ward full of functional, intact families–that he told me that I needed to start dating.
I laughed and decided that I better take the advice before one of the Twelve Apostles called me. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting all the way up the chain to the prophet.
I started to take the idea of dating seriously, and tried to be open.
While I was trying to put together in my mind what I wanted from a potential husband (something I never really did when I was young) I kept writing and stayed in contact with most of my family and friends through email, livejournal (the precursor to “blogs”) or instant messaging.
Writing consumed most of my free time at this period in my life. It was a good diversion from feeling sorry for myself, my situation, being angry at the ex, and trying to adjust to being a single mom. I was delving into scifi, something I hadn’t really done before, and my first serious foray was a short story called: A Rock and a Hard Place. I posted on my livejournal and it went like this:
Richard “Rock” Klein
Captain’s Log 14.10.2665
Outside Uranus (isn’t that ironic)
Kerry Portsmith Station
Docking Bay 24
They say space is cold. But it’s not *just* cold. No one has ever really felt how cold it is and lived to tell about it. We know instinctively that anything so vast and so empty must be cold.
The irony is that all the things we spend time with while in space also make us feel cold and empty. We travel in cold metalic ships from cold empty space to cold empty space.
Machines have no disability like perception. Filled with Artificial Intelligence and hundreds of processors heating up their hard drives, they are still only metal and plastic. They don’t care if they sit in space or in a shipyard for twenty years. They do not desire warmth and companionship. They just exist.
If you have one of those new bioships it might feel a little more like a horse than a cold lifeless THING, but in the end, it’s still a machine. It gives out as much personality and intelligence as an animal and it only lives to fill it’s purpose. It knows exactly what it should be and do. There is no goal for a spaceship to one day be a station. It is what it is and will never be more.
We try to fill the spaces with ego or warm it with personality. Those of us who spend so much time in space hardly know what exaggerated bravado is. We believe the lies we tell ourselves. We believe all the fantasies we create about ourselves and the things… and people, we love – or maybe it’s just ‘want.’
I’ve given up trying to tell the difference between love and desire. I just want warmth.
We leave a planet’s atmosphere to be greeted by a sheet of black with pinpricks of light. There is so much empty blackness between each point of light, that space seems cold even without feeling the temperature drop. We spend much of our time trying to make it feel warm and filled.
The ship is cold and empty this morning, but it won’t be tonight. Tonight she comes.
Three years ago she warmed these halls. It was three years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. No one has ever turned me on, out and completely neutroned me like Sam did. We were good. No. That’s a lie. We were slammin’ fantastic. I know how good it can be between a man and a woman.
That’s why I hate her.
You might look at the logs from six years ago and come to the same conclusion I did: She could be a cold hearted bitch.
Still… a cold hearted bitch is better company than an empty starship.
It was just a little story told using the method of narrating from a captain’s journal, but there was a reply from someone who had never replied to my journal before and the comments after the story went like this:
Slyfoot: Hey, I’m a Sci-Fi fan!
You’ve really got me interested in what happens next!
I really am interested, it’s not just ‘coz it’s the polite thing to say.
Me: I believe you. You don’t normally drop me ‘polite’ comments just to tag my LJ, so I appreciate the attention. (and I’m serious about this story, so it’s good to have someone to help me gauge if it’s still interesting).
Slyfoot: Yeah, keep at it! Maybe you’ll be the next Orson Scott Card. 🙂
PS: I have a Star Trek tattoo, too, lol.
Me: Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
Feel incredibly depressed today, but I also feel like I don’t have a right to be depressed.
A good friend passed away this week. I knew there was trouble because I hadn’t heard from his wife in a while (with a personal contact). His wife was essentially my mentor in ASL. She is a professional interpreter who corrected me, taught me and helped me through my trials in the Deaf Community and with the problems of having a deaf spouse brings into a family. I generally know enough now that I have been on my own in most cases regarding ASL, but when it came to family problems, she and her husband, who just passed, were always there to help us through them.
Before this friend passed away, he had been through a coma/stroke that affected his brain. He almost died. It was remarkable that he pulled through it. The Deaf Branch prayed and fasted for him, and he recovered. He was remarkably recovered, but there were still obvious new quirks that reminded us that he had not got back everything he had lost. His wife spent a lot of time with him, helping in his recovery, the therapy, and just enduring the times when he wasn’t quite himself. This is where we became more similar as a couple than we had before. She had frustrations when her husband wasn’t quite himself like I did, and frustrations when her husband thought he could do things that he used to do before when she would have to remind him that it just wasn’t possible now, like I do sometimes too. In this way we commiserated and supported each other.
Then her husband got cancer. It must have been quite a blow to have recovered from one near death experience only to face another.
Her husband was one of My Hobbit’s dearest friends. They traded hats like some kids trade CCG’s.
I asked My Hobbit how he was doing, because I could tell he was feeling low after the Memorial for this dear friend, and he said: “I am doing ok. I didn’t cry.” And I said: “I cried for you.” And I think I did.
I am very sober this evening. I am glad that the challenges we have at our house have given us an opportunity to be so close and spend so much time together, even if it presents other challenges (like financial challenges) that are difficult to navigate. I am glad to have My Hobbit, for as long as I have him, and now I am even glad for the challenges that have brought us so low financially. I get to be with him, my eternal companion, much more often than I would be if I worked. I think, after the Memorial today, that I appreciate that much more than I ever have before.
Me: *signs* We are too poor! Everything Expensive! I miss Tootsie Pops
My Hobbit: Tootsie Pops aren’t very expensive. We can get some at Sams.
Me: *shakes head sadly*
My Hobbit: Sam’s Club doesn’t have Tootsie Pops?
me; *signs * no
My Hobbit: Communists.
For those of you that helped me with this novella, there’s a sneak peak up at my artists/authors blog:
Feel free to repost and reblog!!!
About the case of the deaf blind twins that had themselves put to death because they didn’t want to live with being both deaf and blind. They were deaf and going blind at the time they decided that life just isn’t good enough if you can’t hear and see (and you thought AUDISM was bad? What do you call it when the deaf think it’s so horrible not to be able to SEE that you should just DIE?):
I wanted to tell you why this was an evil thing these brothers did.
My husband has Ushers Syndrome and has been deaf since he was six and living with a deteriorating vision for most of his life. He still tells tales about ‘blind camp.’ That was when he could still actually see. Now, we have a blog that chronicles our life together, the adventures of the deaf-blind and we try to focus on the positive: https://withclosedcaptions.wordpress.com.
There is no cure for Ushers Syndrome. Sam is rapidly losing the little vision he has. He is having a lot of problems accepting the fact–despite everything we tell him–that he still has value. There is not a job he can do that is more valuable to us than working at home raising the kids, but he does other things for me, like help me edit my work and research, besides being my emotional recharge, my spiritual rock and my best friend. Society doesn’t value a stay at home dad very much, and obviously, from the above story, it doesn’t even really value a deaf-blind person.
This double suicide didn’t just affect these two brothers. No. This affected my husband. If the deaf people didn’t think they had a value if they went blind, how can anyone expect society to think they do?
Katherine Sebilius’ said “Some people live, some people die” as if there were no value to a life that didn’t fit in a box on a chart in some census file. This is exactly the mindset that these deaf brothers understood.
Every time my husband goes through a bout of depression, we struggle to show him how much he means to us. You know who we have to fight? That influence from the government, the media, and now these two deafblind brothers who think being deaf and blind is too much to bear. They even use the excuse that they don’t want to be a burden to their family. What did their family say? They waved goodbye and had a ‘rich conversation?’ Are you freaking kidding me??!!
F*** you for not fighting this tooth and nail so I and all of my friends who are deaf and might one day go blind didn’t have to fight it. Screw you for going down silently to that last sleep. I hope those deafblind brothers spend as much time in hell as we spend struggling to keep my husband uplifted and positive. (even though I don’t really believe in “hell”)
You think these sorts of decisions don’t affect other people? You think they only impact the disabled, or the chronically ill? Think again. It may cost me the best man I’ve ever known. Friends and family say these two brothers were good men. Take a look around you. Do you really think society can afford to lose a lot more good men?
As for me and my house… We will fight tooth and nail to continue to support and uplift the sanctity of each life, no matter the disability.
In ASL, the sign for miracle is “wonderful happening.” The ASL sign manages to be much less problematic than the English word.
So Jesus rose from the dead? That’s a wonderful happening. Jesus walked on the water? That’s a wonderful happening too. You just got a job? Wonderful happening. Your wife had a baby? Wonderful happening! Your cat had kittens? Well that’s wonderful too, but I’m not sure that’s actually a happening. You got a cochlear implant? Hmmm… well, that’s your choice.
Okay, I guess sometimes the concept is problematic even in ASL.
–by Sam Campbell, aka Noelle’s Hobbit 🙂
I spend a lot of time around the deaf and I have noticed a severe difference between people taught ASL only and those taught English and ASL. Maybe you think there is no difference, but take these two posts from my deaf friends and see if you can tell which one was taught using ASL only and the one who was taught English (both are completely deaf):
i feel make piss off you bs no time enough full up over over please stop!! and my hard hurt cousfed not. i won,t give you say no money only first my baby buy pamper thing dumb than nothing ! my face out away from me leave me alone !!! who fault did daddybaby that period peace.
Fear is Faith pointed in the wrong direction, when you believe that good things cannot happen to you, its the same thing as believing that bad things will happen instead. So since you already BELIEVE choose to believe in the BEST for your life, Point your FAITH in the right direction.
Can you guess which is which?
The problem with ASL only education is that it not only is confusing to the hearing in a world where the deaf use English, it’s also very confusing to other deaf people who use ASL and English. If you are around them at all, you know they text like maniacs. They love Facebook as much as any hearing person. People say that a good interpreter can make out what ASL only people are saying in examples like A, but I’ve had as many deaf people come and ask what example A was really saying as any hearing people – and the truth is, I don’t know. I often have miscommunications with the ASL only speakers. They often have miscommunications with each other (this is why ‘misunderstood’ is such a well used sign, imo).
The deaf that were ‘mainstreamed’ seem to have a serious advantage in this world of high tech, even in such a low level as just posting a Facebook post.
While there are these serious problems with ASL only, one thing the deaf have learned from it that we could probably all benefit from, is to just accept the miscommunications and move on after they have been cleared up. Can you imagine how much better our world would be if only politicians could learn this?