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DST (Deaf Standard Time):

Deaf Standard Time (DST) refers to the cultural norms of Deaf people in regard to time usage: extended goodbyes, early arrival to certain events / late arrival to other events, length of time spent interacting, etc.

In discussing and/or reflecting on the topic of Deaf Standard Time (DST) I encourage you to consider the "roots" of any variances between how Deaf people handle time and how the larger mainstream society members handle time.

The following two aspects of DST have what would appear to be rather obvious roots:

* We stay later due at least partially to scarcity. One out of a thousand people are Deaf. (Don't fixate on that statistic -- it is just a rough number for thinking purposes.) That means when we "do" find Deaf conversation partner we are reluctant to walk away from that conversation in a way similar to how a person would be reluctant to walk away from an oasis in a desert.

* In situations involving "line of sight" opportunities (or "make the best use of amplified / residual hearing" opportunities) -- many of us arrive early to claim the best seating.

The above two roots are directly tied to our status as Deaf / HH people.
However, "arriving late?" How is that rooted in our status as Deaf people?

There is a connection (to being Deaf) for "late arrival" too. That connection has to do with the behavior that takes place at the beginning of what we can refer to as a "second meeting of back-to-back meetings."

If I have two meetings in a day and I procrastinate leaving the first meeting (due to the scarcity principle) it will impact my arrival at the second meeting. Upon arriving late to the second meeting I describe to the people at my second meeting that I was delayed due to chatting with a Deaf person at my first meeting. I make the lateness up to (compensate) the people at the second meeting by sharing with them information gleaned (extracted / gained) during the prolonged time at the first meeting (made possible via the procrastination). The people at the second meeting forgive me (or at least are distracted) due to their enjoyment (or at least distraction) of receiving valuable (?) information.

Thus we trade information for "forgiveness of being late."

Such second-hand information is like "water carried to them from the oasis" and it has value. The fact that we can exchange information for forgiveness-of-lateness then trains us as Deaf people to think "it is okay to be late."

Mature, socially aware, woke, "adulted" Deaf however also possess an awareness that the consequences for lateness vary according to the situation. There are those who know when to operate in DST and when not to. There are also those who negatively impact their lives by over-applying the principle of DST to justify being a procrastinator (or are simply oblivious).

Beyond "back to back meetings" and "extended good-byes," etc. -- if a Deaf person (or any person really) over-applies DST into other areas of their life -- eventually they end up being treated as children (or jerks) by others in their lives. For example, eventually a CODA (a child of a Deaf adult) figures out that if they need a ride from a "procrastinator-parent" at 8:30 AM they have to tell the parent that they need to leave at 8:15 AM and have to diligently and repeatedly pressure the parent to prepare to leave -- knowing that if they do not "handle" the parent in such a way they will arrive late. This is an example of and could lead to further discussion of why CODA's are different from non-CODAs. (But that is a discussion best left for some other post -- in some other group.)

To tie this back to actual "ASL-classroom" related behavior: If you arrive to class late and your Deaf instructor turns their attention to you -- you'd best have "information" (an explanation for your lateness) ready to offer to that instructor in exchange for forgiveness (if you are lucky) for being late.

- William G. Vicars, EdD,
(August, 2018)




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