I'm starting this series, and we'll see what happens.

Being deaf is going to McDonalds and not being able to relax. Or Five Guys, or Starbucks, or the Greek restaurant at DuPont circle in Washington DC -- anywhere they give you an order number or ask for your name and then call out when your food's ready.

Because you don't know when your food's ready. So you either hover, hawklike and intent, hogging the counter for the entire preparation time, trying to lipread the person at the mic, trying to guess whether the food they've just put out is yours. No hanging out, getting a soda, looking at the decor, relaxing. Every fiber of your being is on high alert for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes, waiting for the simple interrupt of "Yes, Your Food Is Ready."

The other option is to sit down and relax and be oblivious, knowing that you're probably annoying the person at the mic, who has to call you 3 times. That you'll check every so often, only to find out that your food's not done yet -- or that it is done, and is now cold from waiting out so long.

The same thing happens when you're on the waitlist at a restuarant and they call your name to seat you. If they get your name right, for that matter -- you may not be pushing all your consonants out properly over the noise. "Mallory" and "Mel" morph into "Belle" (understandable), "Meredith" and "Melody" (kind of understandable), "Bethany" (at least it's the same syllable stress pattern, and has shared vowels) and "Meth" (...I don't even know where that came from). If they garble your name when they hear it, good luck trying to lipread a name that's not yours. "Uh, yes. I'm... I'm 'Meth.'"

Consequently, I appreciate the little buzzer blinky hockey pucks that tell you when your order's ready or your table's set. I appreciate the Starbucks at the Purdue Memorial Union, where they saw me signing with another customer and brought my drink right over. And I appreciate friends simply listening for when my number's called -- I'm still amazed that a task so difficult for me is so simple for them. (It is like having friends who all have superpowers.)