Laney’s Universe; Always An Adventure, CART, Captioning

Laney’s Universe; Always An Adventure, CART, Captioning – 2003
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

Each year, for three years, I’ve written about Laney Fox. I am a court reporter, CART provider, instructor, private tutor, coach, who has had the honor of working and laughing with Laney Fox.

We met “in the trenches” when Trinity University requested classroom CART services, communication access realtime translation (voice-to-text) services for Latin. (Many people also refer to serve this classroom CART as ‘captioning’ by captionists.)

Laney entered her class after I had arrived. I am a court reporter, instructor and tutor. I introduced myself on my laptop screen, using my steno machine.

No, I did not know Latin.

The only Spanish I knew (working in criminal court as a court reporter) was: “Guilty or Not Guilty? Have a seat over there.”

Prior to receiving CART, Laney attended all her classes as ‘oral deaf’, reading teachers’, students’ lips.

As a college student, she lived in the dorm for three years, sharing many experiences with me. Her roommates were not deaf.

Some events are comical, as she ‘is’ deaf. Others are typically normal. My favorites? I can’t share, but I’ve had lots of giggles, listening.

When we first met, though, deaf since childhood, Laney had enrolled in a sign language class to ‘better understand’ deaf culture.

She spoke during NCRA’s (National Court Reporters Association) San Antonio convention. Laney was my guest at the NCRF fundraiser when Laurel Eiler, NCRA president, arranged for a hypnotist to entertain guests. Reporters graciously moved away from the center, first row, so Molly Sheridan could interpret. (Laney could not read lips when ‘backs’ were turned to the audience; Laney’s ‘choice’ was an ASL interpreter.)

She’s volunteered to help children, elderly, deaf, HOH (Hard of Hearing), and Laney’s love for animals initially directed her towards pre-med vet studies.

Laney Fox competed in the Miss Deaf Texas Beauty Pageant and was first runner-up.

As I tease her, no dust collects on Laney’s sneakers.

We keep in touch via email, data beepers, friends, interpreters, special events.

We had not seen other in a while, and we met for lunch. When I arrived, Laney was outside, arms extended, gesturing. A mature man was to her left. Two men wearing faded cowboy hats, dusty blue jeans and mud-caked boots, stood near Laney. I parked, sprinted to Laney.

She pointed to the man: “He hit my car!”

I looked to the two men, tilting my head.

Laney said, “I want to know what they’re staring at!”

I roared with laughter; they departed.

The man who ‘hit’ her car was attempting to leave, without stopping. He repeated: “I didn’t do any damage.”

Laney, red-faced, clearly upset, clearly did not share his opinion. I ‘signed’ (ASL) to her, spoke to him.

He did not want to write his name, address.

Finally, I said to the man wearing a hearing aid in each ear: “She’s deaf. Let’s let her parents decide what needs to be done here.”

His reply, “Oh, I didn’t know ‘that’!” He complied with my request. Then he exited, in his car, via the ‘entrance’.

Laney and I rolled our eyes, entered the restaurant, arm-in-arm.

After a wonderful lunch, Laney stood first.

A man approached behind her saying, “excuse me”, several times. Then he exhaled loudly.

I remembered not to roll my eyes, smiled, softly said, “She’s deaf.”

He replied, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

I answered, “That’s okay. It’s not your fault.” Laney and I howled.

I told Laney I was going to put the ‘stupid zone’ comments in this article; she agreed.

At our cars, the waitress ran toward Laney: “Here’s your keys! You won’t get far without these!” She held Laney’s car keys high into the air.

I shook my head, teasingly slapped Laney. As usual, ‘moments’, any occasion, and lunching with Laney is never boring.

I am eagerly looking forward to your graduation party, Laney. I know it won’t be dull or uneventful.

Thank you for sharing with NCRA. Thank you for permitting me to ‘collect’ memories, moments, I can hold close to my heart. I am so proud of you.

And you still owe me money for all the parking meters when you did not bring ‘change’.

It’s truly been a privilege to have provided CART for you and also to have been befriended by you, Laney Fox, my adventurous friend.

Laney’s 2003 update:

“I recently saw Monette. We chatted, dined and laughed. It was wonderful to see her. We had not seen each other for months. But I felt honored that Monette asked me to type up something for her national NCRA JCR, Journal of Court Reporting, column, article. I just dyed/trimmed my hair tonight and I feel ‘new!’

“This past summer I had a volunteer internship at DeafWay (an international conference), which was such an enriching experience! I flew to Washington D.C. and stayed with friends for two weeks.

“I opted to volunteer 40-something hours, which meant that I had to get up at 6 A.M. to get on the subway, to arrive to the location at 7 A.M. I stayed up every night, meeting new people from all over the world! I learned how to communicate with other people who did not speak English. I gestured, motioned and pointed to try to get my points clearly.

“It is amazing on how two people from differing cultures are able to find something in common with each other by conversing for several minutes. I attended multiple panels. I learned such an array of diverse information. I also watched international plays, which gave me opportunities to see their own ‘world’ from their performances. I attended museums. This afforded me a greater knowledge of deaf history.

“However, one of my best experiences at DeafWay is when I volunteered all day to help people to ‘know their way around’. I realized that nearly 10,000 deaf people had come across the world to ‘bond’ with others, and I am proud that I was part of this unique experience.

“Now I am taking 15 hours at Trinity University (and night classes at SAC, San Antonio College, for sign language and I’m learning Spanish!).

“I have remote CART for most of my university classes. I have onsite CART for Greek. Wow, I must have given the CARTers a run for their money when they had to CART for Latin (for my first three years) and now Greek (for my senior year).

“It was a challenge for each of us, Monette and I, to work together as a team for Latin. When I enrolled in Greek, I was fortunate, since the CARTer for my class had already worked with a student in a Greek class. It always helps when the CARTer is familiar with the language!

“I am currently volunteering at the San Antonio Southwest Biomedical Center. I am with the Enrichment Program. We are constantly trying to find ways to improve the quality of the primates’ lives. I aid by observating, building enrichment items and analyzing the data. This volunteer position has been very educational because I am able to determine whether I want to work in this field.

“Last year, I worked in the San Antonio Zoo as an aid to the zookeepers. These volunteering internships are always helpful to me; each allows me to experience their jobs temporarily.

“After I graduate, I am planning to take the GRE and to volunteer part-time. I will probably take a couple classes at a community college. I am thinking about taking carpentry! I need to know how to build a birdhouse (or a bathouse?), so I may take the class. I’ll let you know if the birds accept my birdhouse. (smile)

“Now, after all these volunteering experiences, I am planning to apply to the Peace Corps and Americorps for two years. I have always loved volunteering. I would be thrilled if I could head down to Africa for two years, but we’ll see how everything goes. Wish me luck!”

Monette — PS: Two days after I submitted this article to my NCRA JCR editor, I ‘beeped’ Laney to remind her that “Survivor” would be televised one evening prior to its usual schedule. We have been watching Christy Smith, the oral deaf contestant.

Laney responded immediately: “Thanks for letting me know, Monette. I locked myself out of my car … but it is such a wonderful day. Are you taking a break now? Go for a walk. Hugs.”

This young lady often reminds me to stop my ‘busy-world’, to eat properly and to not work so hard. With the Iraq war starting today and the state of events around the world, I believe we all need a person like Laney Fox who can share such pure moments in realtime. And, yes, I did go that walk. Thanks for the reminder, Laney.

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