So So Deaf
The weekend was pretty cool.
On Friday I got a call from Earl (knowing I was going to see him later on that night) asking me “What are you doing tomorrow?” I hesitated, because I thought he had missed our discussion about the plans for our weekend so I started to reiterate “I have chapter meeting, then a dinner meeting with a client then maybe hanging out with Ness and Lou and…” and he interrupted, “What about after?” More hesitation on my part. Because I wasn’t sure what he was getting at… “Nothing I guess,” I responded. “I would like to know if you’d spend the night with me?” He asked. I could hear his smile through the phone. And I was completely, and pleasantly taken aback as I said, “Well, of course!” He has been making a marked change based on our last few conversations. In the last 3 weeks, I’ve seen him about 3 times a week… spent the last 2 weekends with him and he goes out of his way to make sure that he’s around, or offers to spend time. I take him up on it every time and I’m really overwhelmed by excitement. He’s really trying, and I’m so appreciative. We spent the evening together watching boxing, eating shelled peanuts and making jokes. It bugs me out how much like all the men I knew growing up he is like. Between the obligatory newspaper read every day and watching sports incessantly and eating peanuts that you have to shell first… it’s really like being home for me. I know exactly who I need to be in those situations — myself. We turned in for the night and usually we just fall right asleep — or he falls asleep and I try to tire my mind enough to join him — but last night we stayed up for an hour just talking. Deep talk where we just came right out and said what was on our mind and he really astonishes me. As quiet as he is… he’s REALLY effin smart. And I don’t know if I’ll ever stop being impressed by that. We talked so long that we started to fall asleep between our sentences. But no sleep was had, before he was sure that I’d sleep all the way through the night. In the morning, we even showered together (which is a first in a long time). But I just felt mentally, physically and spiritually closer and more in tune with him. And our friendship is coming back which is something I’ve prayed for.
On my way into the city for my client meeting, I passed a group of young men on the train platform at 74th street. They were your typical urban youth — saggy pants, hats worn every which way, teeshirts that reached their knees, do rags with no waves to be kept, etc. But they were unusual to me. But I couldn’t place why. Till I observed them for a little while. I couldn’t hear them. That was what was out of place. I know my people. We’re loud as hell. We yell at each other when we’re within arms reach. But these boys were signing to each other. JUST as animated as they would have been with full vocals and yelling — but all in sign. And it got me to wondering. I thought we get the cues to live certain ways from reading things in the news… from observing things on TV — but this culture takes most of its cues from the music. But what if you can’t hear it? Somehow, the style of the youth has transcended sound. And then I wondered, what kind of conversation would they have amongst themsevles to relay what’s cool and what’s not? I mean, it’s not like they are mutants or aliens. But I don’t ever remember talking to my peers about fashion. I knew what songs were hot. I saw who was singing them on the music videos and I went out into the stores to see if I could find what they were wearing (within my price range and that looked good on ME). I dunno… it just challenged the way I thought we pass messages. But I’m resigned to thinking, it’s all the same.