Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can't You Read The "Sign"?

Some of you know that my sister Jewel
interprets for the deaf at her church
every Sunday.
I hope someone there lets her know
how much she's appreciated
and that her unselfish generosity
and compassion are applauded.

It really takes a lot of work to
learn the proper configurations
and symbols in order to convey
the message.
And she takes pride in providing
a service to those in need.

But what some of you don't know is
that I know sign language, too.

Well, not your regular
ASL (American Sign Language).
What I have mastered is HSL.
Husband Sign Language.

Oh, it's not something you learn overnight.
It takes years of practice,
observation, failures, and despair.
It takes a quick eye,
a patient mind,
and a loving heart.

(It also takes a little insanity-
which, luckily, I have enough
to go around.)

The thing about HSL is that
you never know when
you're gonna exercise it.

About the time you think he's
picking his nose,
you realize he is "signing"
for a tissue.
Think he's scratching his head?
No, that is HSL for
"bring me a hair brush".

One must always be on their toes
because HSL is very subtle-
almost invisible at times.
I have adopted a sort of ESP
between my husband and I
so that I start to get vibes
whenever signals are being sent.

My eyes and ears must be constantly
tuned to perfection.

Like when he taps his empty
water glass more than three times
on the table-
it means he needs a refill.
More than just a sporadic jingle
of the car keys?
It means he's in a hurry.

The right hand making motions
to and from the mouth
means "hunger".
The very same hand motion with
a slight tipping action
means "Beer".

Two fingers pinched together
and making a picking gesture
means "chewing tobacco".
The same two fingers
making a pressing gesture
means "give me the remote".
Even more subtle is
the fingers making a scissor motion
to request the nail clippers.

A screwing motion to the ear
denotes the request for a Q-Tip.
A sawing motion to the teeth
means he wants dental floss-
and a double finger gesture to the eyes
means that reading glasses are required.

I know, I know- it is all so complicated.
But you newlyweds out there- don't fret.
It took me years to perfect HSL.
I made a few mistakes.
There are times I confused a pick
for a pinch and a press for a poke
and screw for a saw and a tip for a tap.

But he forgave me and continued to teach.
And I kept smiling and continued to learn.

Because, after all,
that's the sign language of