Useless (youngwilliam) wrote,

Words are Like a Teenage Star

Person A: Thank you!
Person B: You're welcome!

Just what is Person A welcome to do? Thank Person B again? Ask Person B again for the task that Person A is thankful for?

It came to mind yesterday when I went to the post office to send out a package and was attended by the deaf desk-clerk. He ended the transaction with a gesture that looked like it had to do with talking, but then I remembered scant seconds later that it was actually the sign for "Thank you". Alas, it was a few seconds later, and I couldn't recall the sign for "You're welcome" at all (although I looked it up at home. Do a Boy Scout three-finger salute, then drop it down to your chest with your palm turning up. Sort of a "With the letter W, from my mind, I offer my heart" type of gesture), so I turned while heading out the door, flashed a smile, and gave him a thumbs-up.

Upon reflection, I think the conversation ended with "Thank you!", "Bottle!" in ASL.

Mind, that also got me to wondering about the whole Thanks/Welcome transaction when dealing with service-providing folks. One time, when getting blood drawn, I thanked the nurse and she pointed out her amusement at how often folks would thank her. "Why are they thanking me?", she asked rhetorically, "I just jabbed a needle in their arm! They'd have to be pretty strange to enjoy that!" My equally amused reply was, "Maybe they're thanking you for not making it worse?" Still, let's think of that post-office bit; I just came in and demanded a service from them, so shouldn't I be the one thanking them instead of the other way around?

I'm sure I shan't force the issue when dealing with the deaf postal desk-clerk though. If I reply with, "No, I thank you" (EG: head-shake a pretend hand-puppet + point at me for emphasis + that kiss-blowing thank-you thing + point at him for emphasis), he might accidentally think I actually know my way around ASL. I can at least fake a "I don't really speak [insert language here]" disclaimer in a number of Euro languages, but I'm quite sure I couldn't pull it off in ASL.

Actually, what would the signs for "I don't really speak ASL" be, moominmolly?
Tags: etymology
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