Michael Bay’s work is only tolerable if you’re in the mood for sexy girls and continuous explosions. Explosions can be pretty fun, until the noise gives you a headache and your eyes begin to burn with the second-hand pyrotechnics experienced through the screen. The explosions bother me less now, which actually bothers me more. Less bothers more, more bothers less. Such is the nature of human beings. Luckily Dan doesn’t mind the deafening explosions, not being able to hear them. Hard for an explosion to be considered “deafening” by an actual deaf person. He loves the flashes of light, the so-simple-it-hurts dialogue, and the painful screeching robot noises are only sparks to him. No matter how many times I attempt to drag him to the gorgeous foreign art films, with their subtitles and nuanced performances, Dan always gravitates back to the mindless explosion movies. He doesn’t even catch half the dialogue, with all the actors shout-screaming their lines while running and being knocked around like GI dominos, but at least he enjoys himself, which is more than I can say for my cynical self most of the time.
Sparks of light would make a great new version of sign language. Maybe then people wouldn’t stare at the poor retards-sorry-but-that’s-what-they-think-inside. Maybe then they’d like the pretty sparks, and think Hey, I should learn that, that’s neat! They don’t know that it’s amazing what you can say with sign language. Dan with his resounding “FUCK YOU AND KISSES ON MY ASS!” when we fight, the words not quite lining up to how people in movies talk. Contrary to popular belief, ASL does not translate directly into English, and you’d be surprised how odd the grammar would seem if it was translated word for word. I’ve always compared it to Yoda’s odd word order, or order of words that is odd. I always fire back with OFF THE LIGHT DON’T MAKE ME SO SEE YOU YELL CANNOT!” which almost always works, because for now I can still live in darkness, a little beady-eyed Golem ready to strike the Fellowship when they least expect it.
Deaf people are close. Too close if you ask me. The Breakfast Club ain’t got nothing on Deaf friend groups. Dan’s friends share everything. Absolutely everything you’d want to know and everything you don’t. No Karen, I really didn’t need to know that your last boyfriend was in to BDSM play, and that he liked his hands tied up because his hands were how he normally called you SEX WHORE and BUTT BIG SLUT, and he loved losing the ability to dirty sign to a sexy deaf lady in a Donald Duck costume. Dan and I didn’t need to know that, and neither did the rest of our little friend group. It doesn’t help that I needed Dan’s help to understand a lot of her frantically signed sexcapades. Dan doesn’t need to be getting any ideas about costumes.
Pretending nothing is wrong feels a bit like espionage. No sexy dresses, champagne, or assassinations for me, but still. When you can’t understand someone, berate them for mumbling. If you can’t understand on the third repeat, laugh and hope it wasn’t a question. When the coffee-maker beeps and you don’t hear it and you have to drink cold coffee, blame the acoustics of your stupid apartment. When you ask someone to repeat what they said, and they say “it’s not important” for the eightieth time, resist the urge to shank his ass with your stiletto heels. Dan never minded repeats when we first started dating. He garbled his speech with the same accent all Deaf people share, and he would keep saying it for my dying ears. Now we sign almost everything, and I only ask for re-dos when he uses a sign I don’t know. Funny how the language invented specifically for people who can’t hear well works so much better. You’d almost think deaf people were meant to sign, instead of parroting spoken language in a way that makes assholes in bars laugh. Then the laughing assholes get a full can of beer chucked at their heads by a crazy girlfriend who’s gone full Terminator.
Sound seem so important to us everyday live-by-the-sound people, but Dan lets me know that I’m not a broken creature just because my hearing is going out. Just because each explosion fades away just a little bit more with every movie we see doesn’t mean I’m worth less. The darkening of the room means more and more, but he doesn’t care. His hands, normally used for speaking, would caress my face whenever I cry over what I will soon lose entirely. I always appreciate his touches, because that means he’s willing to give up his ability to speak just to be closer to me. He taught me how to communicate with what one day will be my people, and how to look forward to the community I’ll gain instead of mourning what I will lose. Silent explosions may make me sad, but the man willing to silence himself for me and make us fools to the world is enough. Explosions be damned.
Maddy Lemons is a senior writing and biology double major. Her hometown is Des Moines, Iowa, and she hopes to attend graduate school in Iowa City after graduation from Drake.