My boyfriend, Tyler, and I have decided to go to a deaf luncheon. My mom helps plan the luncheon each year and my uncle is president of the organization that hosts the luncheon, so I figured that it could be fun. Tyler has never been around this many deaf people at once, so I know it’ll be an interesting experience for him.
As soon as I walk in the door, I’m being pulled aside by mom and another volunteer, because I’ve been offered up as an interpreter. I’ve been told that the person who was supposed to interpret is going to be here late, so now it’s my job to interpret Frosty The Snowman while they put on a skit. I’m not prepared to interpret in front of over a hundred deaf people and I want to hide somewhere. My 15 year old cousin, Frankie, keeps laughing at me, knowing how terrible it can be to be offered up as an interpreter, even though he’s fairly young.
I’m in a back room with the deaf dance team, trying to figure out how the hell to sign this damn song. Another woman heads into the room with us and I’m told that she’s an actual interpreter. She takes a shot at practicing the song, trying to see if she can figure out how to interpret it.
She’s doing a hell of a lot better than I could have done and everyone is fawning over her. If this was something I actually cared about, I would be upset, but this is my worst nightmare and she’s saving me from it.
“Don’t be insulted, I do this for a living and I’m a professional interpreter.”
I can’t help but laugh at that. “That’s absolutely fine. I’m just a CODA.”
I run out of that room and back to our table, so freaking happy that I don’t have to interpret for a bunch of people that will absolutely judge me if I do this incorrectly.
The interpreter does amazing in front of everyone, and Tyler leans over to me and says, “Yeah, she’s a lot better than you would have been.”
Some people may consider that to be an insult, but I know it’s just the truth and I’m not even a little bit insulted.