Yesterday my daughter, Marie, and I went to the movies. The name of the movie isn’t important, (except to say it was a Pixar film.) The reason it was so great was because, for the first time since we adopted her nine years ago, I finally got to sit and relax and enjoy the movies!
Marie is profoundly deaf and communicates in American Sign Language. The movies we tend to see are movies such as Shrek, Finding Nemo, Ice Age, Madagascar and so forth. The negative thing about these wonderful movies is that there is no way Marie can lip read what the characters are saying. ”I love you so much” can look like “Go jump in a dump.” In order for her to enjoy the movies, we have long sat in the last row, underneath the single emergency light in the far left corner, and I have “signed” what the characters are saying. Although my signing isn’t fluent, she laughs in all of the appropriate places, so I am happy. (A happy child makes for a happy parent.) The bad part of all of this is that I don’t get to really enjoy the movie. I am so busy signing that I don’t get to see what is happening on screen. PLUS, (major disappointment…sob…sob….) I don’t ever get a break to eat any of the popcorn Marie happily munches away on.
Then came rear window captioning. It sounds like a great idea. It is basically a screen of plexiglass that sits in the cup holder and it has to be positioned JUST RIGHT in order to reflect back the words that are coming off the projector at the far end of the auditorium. The problem with Marie is that she also has ADHD. She fiddles with it and fiddles with it until it is covered in popcorn butter and it is impossible to read the words. Plus, it must be damn annoying to the movie patrons sitting anywhere near us.
Well, yesterday the heavens opened up and dropped down a device only God could have made to relieve me of my signing duties…a small device that also sits in the cup holder but has closed captions. Marie positioned it perfectly to fit her view of the screen the same as she watches closed captioning on television. To her it was no miracle. She’s used to closed captioning, and it probably didn’t mean all that much, because she gets to enjoy the movie either way. But for me, it WAS a miracle. For the first time in NINE YEARS I finally got to enjoy that delicious (?) movie popcorn and I could watch the movie and actually enjoy it. It was the BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t remember to mention my e-book available on I-Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, etc. The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane.