Dos croissants, por favor

I took American Sign Language in college. I did this because I didn’t want to submit to the tongue vibrations required by languages like French and Spanish. I found the motions untoward. I’m a different person now, and would advise my former self differently, but here I am, barely able to order crepes.

At regular intervals we had to pick passages from music or literature and sign them to the class. One of the other students in my class was a cop, and one night he gave his presentation in uniform because he had either come from, or was headed to a shift. I can’t remember. He plugged in a small portable stereo, pressed play, and signed along with Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.” It was a combination of sound and silence. The music was loud enough to to hear, but quiet enough to also hear the sounds of his keys jingling, and the zip of his hand across his polyester uniform as he made signs.