The other day my friend was talking to me from another room. Of course I couldn't understand her. When I asked her to repeat what she said, she jokingly wiggled her fingers around in the air and spoke in a slow and exaggerated voice, "I s-a-i-d . . ."
Before you write her off as a horrible insensitive person, she was only joking. She would be furious if she saw someone do this to me.
You probably have seen this in the movies, where someone moves his or her fingers around in the air supposedly mimicking sign language and speaks in an exaggerated "deaf voice" to someone else who did not hear the person. So not funny.
But, unbelievably, this has happened to me before with a complete stranger, not too long ago. I was at my school's computer lab where I stood in line to speak with the computer tech about getting a password to log into my student account. When it was my turn, I stepped into a crowded small office where the fan was whirring loudly. The man was looking down as he was talking to me. "Great, this is going to be fun," I thought to myself. I strained to listen and inched in as close as I could get to him without looking too creepy. "Excuse me?" "What?" I kept asking. I was going to tell him about my hearing problem and that he should shut off his fan, before he did something that stopped me in my tracks. He wiggled his fingers in the air producing the fake sign language and loudly asked, "W-H-A-T. . . I-S. . .Y-O-U-R . . . S-T-U-D-E-N-T. . . I-D. . . N-U-M-B-E-R!?"
I was shocked. I had to say something.
"LOOK!" I said loudly, "I have a hearing loss." I pointed to my hearing aid. "I was going to suggest to you to turn off the fan. I don't appreciate you making fun of me!"
He started laughing nervously. Then came the apologies. But, he still did not turn off that horrible fan!