Being that I’m from the Sonoran Desert city of Tucson, Arizona, I find this D.C. weather to be a little ridiculous. It is like living inside one of those misted patios we have back home except you have no control over when it gets misty. It can be sunny all day on a Tuesday but beginning Wednesday afternoon the rain will come back and we’ll have four days of it. It’s followed this pattern here since maybe end of September last year, and today has been no exception with water coming down or covering everything since Saturday night after the NBA Game 7. Something different out here is the “you-gotta-be-kidding-me-that-is-lightning?!!” lightning; it’s like a flicker from a television late at night when someone forgets to turn it off and you see it flashing on the wall as you come down the hall towards the kitchen for a midnight snack. These lightning bolts here are really weak compared to what I’ve seen all my years out in Tucson. Out West, the bolts will shake everything around you when the electricity bursts right over your head. Here, well, I kind of thought I was seeing one of those large promotional lights like the one they use in Batman movies. Then a friend asked if I saw the lightning so I caught on. It’s funny: lightning without thunder does not feel complete to me, but I do not hear thunder as well these days as I have in the past. If I put on the cochlear implant I well hear more than I would hear without it but it sounds a bit faint. Recently we were at a fellow Gallaudetian’s house off campus and after the lightning flashed there came the sound of thunder about 4 seconds later. I asked people in the room if anyone heard the thunder just then and no one else had heard it.
I’m left to wonder a bit at why the Deaf are able to feel satisfied in not hearing other things beyond spoken language. I mean, I’m here struggling when I hear a sound with my muffled left ear and when I finally relate it with its source I feel foolish for mistaking, for example, a dog’s bark with traffic noise; there are some very odd associations that are created nowadays. But the Deaf, many of them couldn’t be happier all the while missing out on a plethora of life’s sounds. It befuddles me but then again I come from knowing sound and its millions of formed meanings whereas someone born deaf would have no comparison. I suppose it will just take an unmeasurable amount of time before, when I hear a sound like thunder and it sounds wrapped in layers of cotton, I simply move along and think nothing more of it. Curious: would a Deaf person feel my anxiety, my frustrations, my struggle, and my separation in a relatively exact similar way should they suddenly have hearing and the need to make sense of that?