Just ended a text message conversation with my mom with “sksksksk” which in ASL Deaf life means “Nanu Nanu”. It’s the end of a conversation, you’ll hear nothing more from me.
During our chat we talked about her mom, my deaf grandmother with whom I spent many a summer and shared tons of great memories. Signing off with that shorthand gave me a flashback of answering our phone at the trailer and, essentially, instant messaging with my grandmother back in 1978.
We didn’t type on a sleek little smartphone made of breakable glass but on a honking piece of green, industrial metal taller than me. Deaf people have been ahead of the curve on all sorts of technology and Grandma, who was born in the 1920s, was using emoticons and shorthand using a clunky teletypewriter before you –maybe even your parents, too– were a squirmy worm. We miss her greatly. My present-day superior typing speed is owed to her frequent phone calls.
To read more about the shorthand of TTY / TDD communications, check out this Wikipedia article. The pic here isn’t our TTY (sadly I can’t seem to find a single picture of it) but it’s a close representation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_device_for_the_deaf#Etiquette