Growing up, I was always an interpreter. It was always just easier for me to show up and interpret with either of my parents, than for them to have to order an actual interpreter. Because of that, I definitely learned more than I should have at a young age. For a couple years, I would go to my brothers parent teacher conferences and interpret, when in reality, it probably wasn’t any of my business how he was doing in school. It was never much of an issue for me, but as a child, interpreting was both natural and a hassle, just because I was lazy and didn’t want to go to appointments that weren’t for me.
Even to this day, I still interpret occasionally for my parents. At holidays, I interpret prayers or speeches, and I occasionally will join a parent at the eye doctor, although they both are fairly good at communicating without me. I tend to still be the middle man when it comes to party planning, or just making sure that everything is understood and clear.
I don’t mind interpreting, however when I was younger, I felt like I had a lot of responsibility that I didn’t always want. Because of the conversations that I was in on, I always just felt like I couldn’t always just be a child, because I was helping my parents do grown up things. I don’t necessarily think it ended up being a bad thing, but at that time, I hated it. But now, it’s something that I’ve considered pursuing.
For people that haven’t grown up in a deaf family, you may think that deaf drivers are so safe, since they use sign language to talk and driving requires full attention and use of your hands. To that, I say absolutely not.
I’ve had many situations with my parents where I have to essentially ignore them so that I’m not as worried about them not watching the road. Someone I’ve always related with on this is a comedian that I really enjoy, Keith Wann. He is also a CODA and honestly explains this better than I could even think to. I’ve linked the clip of his show below so that you can really understand what happens in the car. As he says, I also have vivid memories of my mom looking completely away from the road.
Another thing about car rides is that I think most people would assume that car rides are fairly silent since deaf people can’t really hear music. On that, it’s all about the person. My mom has always been more into things like dancing, whereas my dad has never been a very big dancer and is more of the quiet type.
So with my mom, she loves listening to music in the car. That might be a confusing thing to understand. She didn’t always hear all of the music, but she could feel the bass and the beats. That being said, her favorite CD to listen to was a J.Lo CD that I think I’ve heard about a million times, (which isn’t really a bad thing). But with my dad, he hardly ever has his radio on, and if it is on, it’s because I’m in the car.