One of the things I haven’t really learned to deal with yet is communicating in large groups. Going to a group event with my hearing friends presents its own set of communication challenges and it’s pretty much guaranteed that someone will be asking, “WHAT did you just say?” before the end of the night. And it’s not always me.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a birthday party at a friend’s house. There was a group of us standing in their entryway when their cat came to the door to be let in. I looked at the cat as my friend opened the door, and in that two-second span lost complete track of the conversation.
My friend M looks at the cat, and says, “… doctor… blood…mess..”
And so, with the little bits I was catching, I deduced that the cat must be sick. Everything I was seeing started to match that context.
“… pee… blood… doctor.”
Oh! The cat has a bladder infection. M is saying that if the cat pees blood, they’d better take her to the vet. This is my chance to contribute to the conversation.
“Well, you might want to take her to the vet even if there’s no blood.”
Beat of silence. Strange looks. And then the conversation continues, like I haven’t spoken. I try a new tactic.
“Hey, did you just say vampire?” I ask M, certain she’s going to laugh, and then clue me in on what they’re actually talking about.
Yep, vampires. The whole time, they’d been talking about vampires. And zombies. And about how there’s a blood shortage because people have gone crazy in Florida and started eating each other.
Good news is, the cat’s okay.