|Strange what one notices on the bus, especially when sitting up front...|
Ever since I have reached my rather exalted age, I've made a point of sitting in the first seats on the bus, which in Israel are reserved for the "elderly and handicapped" when they aren't occupied.
One of my favorite things is to look out from the large clear front window, especially since in our "protected" buses, the side passengers windows are quite often so scratched up all you see is grey. There are bus drivers who are very friendly, and those who are the opposite. Talking to nearby passengers helps them stay awake.
Last night, the young woman in the seat opposite me was very busy talking to the driver. It was obvious that they knew each other in real life by her using his name and referring to his family. Suddenly I realized that his replies to her weren't verbal. He was "signing." And she was replying to his rapid and expressive hand movements.
"Could the bus driver be deaf?" I wondered.She barely stopped talking for a second, and he had no way to lip read. He couldn't be deaf I realized. My mind began to imagine possible causes. Had he been somehow injured, shot in the face in a way to prevent easy speech? Or could the cause of this need to sign be from a congenital problem? My mind was racing. But, I remembered, he had answer passengers who had asked about the route and fare. Suddenly, soon before I reached my stop, he began to respond to her verbally.
There's still a mystery, but now it just seems that they both are competent and comfortable with the deaf's signing.