I have written here before about my friend Carl. In fact, he and I collaborated on a post in May, after he visited from up north and we took the Metrolink train to Los Angeles to attend a Bernie Sanders rally. We have an unique friendship, one that has evolved and continues to evolve in remarkable, sometimes challenging, wonderful ways.
One of the most remarkable and also challenging and wonderful aspects of our friendship is that we both have impaired speech, caused by the Cerebral Palsy that we both live with. Carl’s speech is a bit less difficult to understand than mine, but it is nonetheless a difficulty that we both deal with constantly.
When I first met Carl, talking to each other was quite difficult. Not only was it hard to understand what the other was saying, but it was hard to understand when the other repeated what the other said to make sure it was understood correctly. It was a headache and, at least for me, a bit scary, and I kept asking my attendant to act as an interpreter. Carl insisted that it was important that we keep talking to each other on our own, and, as is often the case, he was right. In the earlier post, we wrote about discovering how to use our various devices to help in this process, and Carl even got this old dog to learn the new trick of conversing with him on the Skype-like Google Hangouts with the help of a texting feature.
I am very happy that Carl and I are now able to talk to each other with no or little assistance. We sometimes use our devices, but it’s now really a matter of ease and how we feel. Rarely is it a necessity. In addition to being liberating, it’s a delight to me that it’s like Carl and I have our own language that no one understands. We are like two deaf friends talking in a crowd of hearing people.
Recently, we were talking to a friend of Carl’s. I said something, and the guy looked at me quizzically, having no idea what I said. Carl repeated what I said, and the guy understood and said, “Really? You got all that?” Carl and I just looked at each other and laughed. It gets even funnier when someone doesn’t understand us and we understand each other. Or when someone is absolutely clueless, thinking they understand us when they clearly don’t.