I'm home after a long week in Philadelphia, where I attended a conference. There were 3,000 of us attending the conference! We took over the city! You could identify us two ways: by the badge/ID bag we all wore around our necks (which was official entry into the workshops) or by the sign language flying around everywhere. It was a national conference of Sign Language Interpreters and Deaf people. So we made a big splash with our visual conversations.
Wednesday came along, and it was time for my Wednesday Women Lunch. For the first time that week, I happened to be alone for lunch! Never fear -- I ate at a popular market that was near our hotel and that was invaded by all of us badge-bearers and signing folks. I sat down at one of the few empty chairs in the place, and I was with two women from my conference. I didn't know them, but they were wearing badges and signing to each other. It would have been a perfect opportunity to include them in my Wednesday Women experience. But... they did not acknowledge my existence.
When you have been interpreting for nearly 27 years, as I have, and you sit down with two young signing women who are not using their voices, you can pretty much tell with a quick glance and from the way they are signing whether they are hearing or deaf. Well... these obviously were a couple of young hearing signers who wanted to practice and wanted to appear to be deaf, or fluent in sign language, or something. Maybe they were just completely intrigued with themselves.
At any rate, I chose not to be assertive and introduce myself. They never even glanced my way, and never showed the slightest curiosity about me, so I just enjoyed my lunch alone. Had they glanced my way, I would have started a conversation with them (and they might have had their picture at my blog - a dubious honor, but still...)
The picture is the market where I ate. I did not get a picture of my silent partners and my alone self or even of the food I ate. Next week I'll be with friends who will know I'm there and will converse with me!