The post made by Megan of Hearing Sparks about social bluffing (also by Putz, Kym, and Meryl) has been stuck in back of my mind-- do I do social bluffing? Or because I could understand people so I wasn't social-bluffing? Is it OK? When is it not OK?
Putz defined social bluffing as: "pretending to hear or understand something that is being said, and behaving in a way that shows you understand, even when you have little or no clue as to what is being said."
What if I don't pretend? I never cover up the fact that I am Deaf. I don't use my voice to speak-- I only gestured or signed back to hearing people. What if I could understand them just by reading this body language? Is this still considered "social bluffing"?
Admittedly, there are moments where I initiated the social bluff especially when ordering coffee-- Starbucks is my culprit and I avoid it at all costs now (not because of the social bluff, but their poor coffee). The baristas shout out the beverages while shooting out beverages onto the counter with no written notes on it (Starbucks Lingo) and they are too busy to look at you while they are answering your question: "What is this?"-- MUMMUMBASHASMUMBLE VANILLA MUMBLEBAUMBLE and I would hesitate to touch it until I am saved by somebody else who had identified that beverage to be theirs. I have stolen maybe... four beverages from somebody else. I am sorry, strangers, for taking your tall Mocha Latte, grande Caramel Macchiato, grande Vanilla Beans Frappuccino, and venti Vanilla Latte either in San Diego or Washington, DC.
As I added up all social bluffing moments and mis-orders, I decided that I had enough. I have taken the initiatives of avoiding the social bluffing-- make them write down if I couldn't understand what they are saying, or even just ONE word that I am missing which I would write everything I understood from lipreading then point to the "____" for the hearing person to fill out.
I would sign back if they speak to me: "I will like a coffee... or will you prefer me to write?" because I have met cashiers/baristas/waiters/resses who know ASL so that was empowered when they replied: "Oh, I know signs, so what do you want?" and BONUS: the sign of "WRITE" would read as a gesture for non-signers and they could proceed to get a piece of paper for me to write down my order.
However there are moments where I knew what they wanted-- and it wasn't because I lipread but because of their body language. Like I could read their minds.
What promoted me to post was an incident that occurred just 10 minutes ago. A middle-aged woman was eyeing my table at a tiny coffeehouse (NOT Starbucks). I knew she wanted to ask if she can share the table with me. I looked up and she mumbled something while pointing to the empty chair across to me. I gestured "take a seat" with an outward palm and smiled. She smiled and dumped her bags (a sunhat, a giant Mac laptop which took 2/3 of my table, and a beach bag. We are in DC! 3 hours away from beaches!). She went up to the counter to order coffee.
I returned to my netbook and typed away.
Moments later, she was back, standing, bending occasionally to seek for something under the table-- as if she is looking for something. Again, I looked up-- she went: "¿¿MUMBLEMUMBLE??" but I knew she was asking: "is there a plug?" I raised my eyebrows and nodded then I proceed to pat on the plug sockets on the wall next to me.
"Oh! Good." was the only coherent thing I could understand from her.
Is this social bluffing? or ESP?