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I’ll ask this question of Anyone; young or old. Because the mind that claims it has nothing else to learn, is in danger of stagnating. The keyword I emphasize when I ask this is Like. It Can be a skill that would be useful in business/ the future, but it needs to be something that they really Want to learn.

I’m rather amazed when people respond, “that’s an interesting question!” And even more amazed when they add, “I’ve never been asked that before!” Some people don’t know what I mean by a ‘skill.’ Learn a new: language; dance; an artistic skill like illustration, painting, or photography.

I had a 7 y.o. kid tell me a couple weeks ago he wanted to learn programming. “Ooo cool. What would you do with a skill like that?“ And he proceeded to tell me and his mom, with just a little prompting, what kind of video game and app he would build. I suggested to his mom to Jot some of those ideas down!

Although the stated skills have been wide and varied, several folks have stated carpentry or woodworking, and welding as desired skills. And just basic house fixing skills.

It could even be as esoteric as “closing a deal;” the ability to read the other person or group by body language, or intonation. That’s one of my skill desires. I’m good at maintaining relationships. And I have made sales before. But not enough to make ends meet. Hence why I am a Lyft driver. The other skill I would like to improve is my ASL (American sign language). I know the alphabet; in elementary school I learned the Pledge of Allegiance; and in my teens I performed at Rocky horror picture show, ‘True Colors’ by Cyndi Lauper.

But ever since I learned about… Do you remember Hurricane Harvey & Irma, that was in the Gulf area back in August 2017? Well apparently, the emergency officials who were supposed to be communicating with the deaf community, were speaking pure gibberish. And that completely offends my standards sensibility. Now, when I

NOAA’s GOES-East satellite provided a visible image at the time of Irma’s landfall in the Florida Keys. NASA photo

looked into this article, The emergency officials could’ve handled the situation much better than they did. They could’ve done closed captioning, or if they couldn’t get the translator from across town (because, hey, they’re in an emergency) then they could have video teleconferenced in a translator. I really do feel for the guy that they put in this situation. They ended up doing was getting a city employee, a lifeguard, whose brother happened to be deaf. I’m sorry but casual conversation with your siblings, is going to be a lot different than… I mean how often do words like “evacuate” and “hurricane” come up in casual conversation?

That’s what got me to thinking about improving my ASL. I’ve got flashcards that I can practice with in between rides in my car. There are YouTube videos. I’ve been told about apps with specific training videos. Mount Hood community college, and PSU have ASL programs. PCC also has some classes, but if they don’t fill the class, they cancel the class; so, it’s not very reliable. At MHCC the cost of a 10-week, 4 credit class, is $117/credit hour, or $468, plus at least a book; so maybe $5-550. And time wise, that’s 2 hours, twice a week. Let’s compare that to a personal tutor. Same amount of time and frequency, at minimum, $20/ hour. That’s 6 weeks versus 10 weeks. But it’s concentrated time. Maybe you get a small group of 2-4 people, so you have someone to practice with, and split costs. I hope I can put some $ aside so I can make this happen. In the meantime, I’m re-watching Switched at Birth and practicing the signs they make. I’ve got ‘Mad’, ‘Trouble’, ‘Doesn’t Matter’, ‘Who’, etc.

And I’ve found, through the show, this hunky deaf guy Nyle Dimarco! Check out his YouTube channel, and his basic ASL playlist. I can’t wait to put it to some use and be able to devote the time.

To ASL! But I’ll be adding him to my Freebie List.

Related Articles:

48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn

Check out the skills from this bucket list.

The Deaf and Disabled in Natural Disasters

Hurricane Harvey shows it is time for FCC to improve emergency alerts

~And remember, you can always catch a Lyft home. Stay Safe out there!

Megan