My Life in Paradise

because I only wish I could make this sh*t up…

I met a man who couldn’t hear and couldn’t speak….

on July 12, 2013

Six or seven years ago when I first started to visit my parents in Hawaii I noticed each car had a pencil and a pad of paper in it.  I didn’t think anything of it, I assumed it was for notes as old people forget things.  I was wrong.

One day LadyMom asked me if I ever wondered what the note paper and pencils were for.  Obviously being me I said something snarky like “you’re old – it makes perfect sense”.  She huffed and said “rude child you are wrong.  They are for my Anthony.”  She told me about and that whenever they see him on the road they stop and get him as close to where he is going as is possible.  

NOTE: Hitching is very very common in Hawaii…

Yesterday, by chance, I met “her Anthony”.  Anthony is a Hawaiian man who can not speak and can not hear.  For years both my parents have been picking him up as he hitch hikes back and forth from town to his home in the village at Milolii.  

Milolii is an interesting place where the haole (white person) is not welcome at all.  

They take care of their own and they take care of Anthony very well.

As we drove along and he made noises I didn’t understand, but my LadyMom did.  They wrote notes back and forth.  He wanted to know who I was etc. etc.  He’s a kind man and when he got where he wanted to go we let him out.  He shook everyones hand and went on his way.  Anthony has an incredibly gentle sense about him.  Like he doesn’t know or care his world is different than ours.

I wondered aloud after he left about how different his world must be so to ours.  Communication for me is hurried and instant.  Everything is texts and googled  and emailed or chatted.  I find phone numbers and addresses on the fly and get a little anxious when my phone dies.  What if Mr.Monster needs me?  What if Ladyface has to tell me something bestie important?  

Anthony makes his way through the world with a pencil and the kindness of those he meets along the way.  He walks, often for miles and it’s just the way his life is.  Apparently 10 years ago they took his drivers license away because he can’t hear.  

I have often experienced anger and frustration from my friends who are differently abled.  They are (often rightly so) irritated and angered that the world doesn’t understand they need accommodation.  Hell the 4-5 months I spent limping around needing a ride everywhere after surgery made me surly, cranky, and unpleasant.   And then there is Anthony.  A simple man, living in a village 45 miles from town, supported by his community and at peace with his differences.

Life.Is.Interesting

ps – more than one friend of mine has looked for sign language classes for me on this rock in the pacific and there are none.  I even asked at the university and there is just no freakin deaf culture here.  Apparently on the Big Island of Hawaii no one is ever deaf……

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