Cats and Vampires and Zombies, Oh My!

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.

7 thoughts on “Cats and Vampires and Zombies, Oh My!

  1. Michelle

    I have lost count of the number of times I misunderstand the flow of the conversation especially when there has been a change in the direction of the conversation yet I somehow missed the turn… If I am with friends we just laugh it off when I have brought up to date with the new topic. Other times I wish the ground would swallow me up

  2. molly

    On the flipside of this, I am a hearing person with a few deaf friends. One of which has a HUGE social circle, and with that, a lot of get togethers with deaf and hard if hearing friends. I try my best to keep track of conversations but I just started to learn asl this year and have the asl vocabulary of a three year old. We were in a conversation about a 4th of july party I had at my house, I looked away for a split second, then they were talking about a guy that shoots guns. I thought they were talking about a party guest (my husband’s a hunter so there were a few guys at the party who hunt). Turns out they were talking about Aurora, CO. What a conversation switch in a matter of moments! It took forever for me to figure out what was really going on. You are so right, the “language barrier” makes for some interesting conversations trying to lip read, sign, and in my case, a lot of charades. Thank you for your blog, it’s awesome insight to the transition of hearing loss.

    1. Indi

      Thank you for the kudos. :)

      I agree with you — doesn’t matter what the language barrier is, following along in a group of people adds an extra challenge. All it takes is a second to lose the whole train of the conversation… and then your mind starts filling in all the blanks. And hilarity ensues.

  3. that Deaf Girl

    lip reading is always… interesting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve misunderstood things, because so little has been shown on the lips. Taking in a few words and piecing it together… never easy.

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