One day my kids are going to ask how Dave and I met – and after I tell them that Dave saved me from a burning building, or that I used to play the drums for an alternative ska band and Dave was our roadie, or that Dave was a magician with a Vegas act and I was the girl he cut in half every night – I’m going to have to tell them the truth. And the truth, while quite funny, is not as exciting as say the one where he was attempting to climb Everest without oxygen for the 4th time and I was his Sherpa guide. So here’s the Tale of Sam and Dave – man I wish I were in an alternative ska band because that would make a kick ass song title!
For as long as I can remember, friends and family, casual acquaintances, and strangers in buses and trains have been telling me that I am very loud. And its true, I have a normal decibel level that could, at the right pitch, make your ears bleed, peel paint off the walls, and may one day be weaponized. Did I mention that I am loud?
What’s ironic is – I don’t hear it. In fact, when I teach, whether its my own kids or at university, if I’m asked to clarify a point I just usually say the same thing – louder! Like I can surgically insert the understanding into your brain with the scalpel like volume of my voice – shockingly its never actually worked.
So, when I was in grad school, I thought that the reason I couldn’t hear myself was because I was going deaf at a snail’s pace. And in order to be proactive for the eventuality that I would one day be completely deaf I decided to teach myself sign language. The idea being that even when I was deaf I’d still be able to communicate with others. Hey, I was in grad school learning to be smart – the process wasn’t complete as yet!
One crisp fall morning a new grad student started working in our lab and when he was being introduced to us he noticed the Joy of Signing on my desk. He shook my hand, looked directly into my eyes and said very loudly and clearly, moving his lips s-l-o-w-l-y – HELLO, MY NAME IS DAVE. And I said – loudly, clearly, and slowly – HELLO, MY NAME IS SAMHITA. Dave went home that evening and told his roommate that he was going to be working with “a very strange Indian girl who thinks she’s going deaf”! Well, 18 years later and we are married so the moral of the story is be careful who you call crazy coz you might be doing a little DNA hokey pokey with her! Yes, I know that’s a stupid euphemism for sex but my parents are reading and really I’ve embarrassed those two lovely people enough!
Now, I’ve told that story so many times and each time its embellished just a little and it gets a lot of laughs because of my expected nuttiness and Dave’s reaction. Dave insists that he didn’t behave like a complete idiot when he first met me but I said that this was my blog and if he wanted to tell his side of the story he should get his own blog.
Three weeks ago I told this story to a friend who’s a Physical Therapist and her amused reaction was for a completely different reason:
PT Friend: That’s hilarious!!
Me: I know, can you believe how Dave reacted!!
PT Friend: No, I’m just laughing because you tried to teach yourself sign language when you thought you were going deaf!
Me: Ummm, what’s wrong with that?!
PT Friend: You wouldn’t need to talk with sign language, you can still talk when you’re deaf – you just can’t hear so you’d just have to learn how to read lips!
See this process of getting smart – it’s far from over and seems to be a lifelong kind of thing!!