Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bizarre, but funny

As I was leaving my apartment this morning, a woman and man were standing across the street looking at a parking ticket dispenser (in many European cities, they don't have parking meters, but instead have central meters, where you pay in money, and then get a ticket spit out, which you display on the dash of your car.) As soon as the women spotted me, she started wildly gesticulating at me to come over. So, I did. Quite puzzled, may I add.

When she doesn't start speaking, but instead keeps gesticulating with her hands, I realize that she is deaf. Okay...hmmm...but for some reason, she thought I would understand her sign language? Okay...

She keeps pointing to the meter, and to the place where it says in German: maximum 8 Euros. I really want to help, but I just am not understanding. Then her friend shows me his cell phone, where he has used the text function to type in something: French.

Okay...now this is really amusing.

So, I take out a piece of paper, and explain in French that 8 Euros is the maximum charge, and that they can stay for 4 hours for that. Then I give him the piece of paper, and he writes: Moins? (Less?) Okay, so now I am going to have to explain to them, that they are in the city center and they have to drive outside, to park for free. So, I try to convey that information on the paper. And then they thank me and they go off on their way.

And all I could think was, wow...they have balls. I mean, seriously. Coming to another country where they can't speak the language, and well, they can only commicate through sign language or writing. And how she was so unabashed in calling me over to help, and ask for directions. I mean, I don't know many people who will just ask people directions right away, and certainly not those who have the extra challenge of not speaking the language, not to mention not being able to hear. I was so impressed. I had such a smile on my face after that, practically made my day.

2 Comments:

Blogger bee said...

Just randoming by...
Bizarre, indeed. I once irritated some tourists when I lived on Maui when I couldn't give them directions in their non-English native tongue. Some people, eh? :)

8:57 PM  
Blogger katiedid said...

The deaf have/want to travel, too. There is a definte disadvantage to that, but what else are they to do? If a speaking French couple were to do the same thing, others might question why they didn't pick up some key phrases for the language of the land they were visiting, but this does not always occur. I know that when language fails me, I do end up falling back on my native tongue in a desperate hope the other person will understand me. For many of the deaf, especially those with conscientious parents, their native tongue is sign language. I guess I sympathize in a way, as I am hopeless with English sometimes, let alone a foreign language.

11:17 PM  

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