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Only minutes after the Twitter announcement that the classes might be held during the summer, area businesses were responding with enthusiasm and inquiring about signing up, according to Julia Christian, executive director of the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals. About 12 businesses have signed up, with more expected to join.
ďThis is a way to bridge the communication gap and bring everyone together,Ē Christian said. ďItís important for the community to talk about it, to understand how to understand one another.Ē
Swiller is confident the classes will help the businesses as much as they help the students.
ďMaking that effort to learn some signs is a very warm introduction or a very warm opening,Ē he said. ďTo make that effort, itís a step towards making people feel more comfortable and willing to come back.Ē
Video: How to Order a Drink Using Sign Language
Iím Fritz from the Rock N Roll Hotel up in lovely Northeast Washington, D.C. Weíre about two blocks away from Gallaudet University, and youíve got to know your demographic. So, in the first two years, it was kind of hard getting a drink order out of someone because every single time you have to get a pen and a piece of paper, pass it back and forth, it gets wet on the bar, it gets stuck to the bar, it gets lost.
So itís just a lot easier to learn. So letís go: Youíve got a Red Bull and vodka. Or youíve got like a vodka tonic. If you want to get fancy, you can get like a Grey Goose and cranberry. What else have we got here? Oh, here we go, youíve got a Jägerbomb. And, oh, a car bomb.
And then the blues are my favorites. If you learn your ABCs if youíre a bartender, pretty much anything you can do with your ABCs. You can spell drinks out. Itíll take you two days to learn your ABCs. If youíre next to Gallaudet, I recommend it, it just makes it easier. So, the blues. You got your B, thatís blue. This would be Blue Moon. Blue motorcycle. Or even better, the blue Hawaiian.
And then a lot of it, thereís a lot of humor in the deaf community. So we make them up, and they understand it. So letís say you want a Captain and Coke. Well, you could spell it out and do the whole nine. Or you could just say, so you want a ďCaptainĒ and ďCoke,Ē and they get it right away.
A lot of itís humor and a lot of itís just understanding your clients. We turn the bass up, we have smiles and itís made our relationships with this demographic a lot better over the years. Iím Fritz, and thatís it.