I Wish People Came With Subtitles
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I Wish People Came With Subtitles

With A Feature Like This, Effective Communication Could Happen via Closed-Captions

I Wish People Came With Subtitles

I hardly ever get the opportunity to see all of my brothers at once, so when two of the oft-absent siblings were recently in town, I made the extra effort to go see them at my father’s house where they’d be crashing for the weekend.

When I first arrived, I noticed a movie playing in the family room with the closed caption feature enabled. Naturally, this version displays subtitles at the bottom of the screen, providing viewers the words to the entire episode. I could see and hear it from the foyer: a popular actress was lighting up the screen and deftly stealing the heart of her co-star while every last word was accounted for.

I remarked to no one in particular that I have a habit of utilizing the subtitle feature on absolutely everything I watch, without exception. Literally, it is unreservedly compulsive. I detest watching movies or television without this feature and, if said option is not available, its absence becomes so distracting that I will often cease watching altogether. I’m so used to doing it, that, when I don’t, I feel as though I’m missing one of my senses, like the sound is turned all the way down on the program, even though I know, of course, that it’s not.

I’m not sure when the obsessive subtitles dependency began, but I can definitively say that I have been doing it for the last 5 years minimum. The inclination toward doing this probably originated simultaneously with my Netflix binge-watching habit.

In response to my comment, my brother agreed that he’s likewise fond, verging-on-obsessed, with subtitles. I know my mom uses subtitles at her house, too. She’s big on foreign cinema. Also, she utilizes the feature while running on her treadmill because that can get noisy.

It could be that my family members and I are genetically predisposed towards auditory issues, but that explanation seems unlikely. Rather, I believe that our collective devotion to reading, both for pleasure and education, is so strong that we simply prefer to "read" what we watch. As a child, I had a strong and enduring passion for reading. I sought it out as an "escape" and a comfort. As an adult, I still seek relief in its familiarity.

I wish I could apply the comfort and familiarity of the "Subtitle Feature"to my real life; especially when interacting with people in real life.

And dogs, too, that would be neat. So entertaining.

But as far as human interactions are concerned, subtitles would be incredibly useful, because, let me tell you, I really suck at reading a room.

By using subtitles, I’d be able to tell when my oldest brothers are teasing me or being just plain mean. With subtitles, the inscrutable thoughts and feelings of my youngest autistic brothers would be made plain. Their speech apraxia would no longer be a communication deterrent.

Moreover, talking to my parents would be simplified. I’d assuredly know if, during a conversation, my stoic mother were expository or encouraging in that particular moment. Theoretically, reading her emotions would provide guidance on how to navigate each and every interaction.

Likewise, subtitles would provide a better interpretation of my dad's reactions to information and events.

I’d gain entry into what lies past his unreadable expressions, which are reserved for the difficult conversations, and thus be advised when to share freely versus when to filter.

It would really clarify things.

But without having those subtitles to fall back on, I find that when it comes to my parents’ feedback specifically, it’s best for them to be vague. I can’t help but bear the impact of their opinion, so, if things are to remain copacetic, it needs to be a fairly ambiguous one.

Perhaps many adult children experience this, or a similar dynamic with one or both of their parents. It’s difficult making that transition from child to adult; especially when that child is complicated and floundering. My public writing is often intense and occasionally results in controversial feedback. In providing "subtitles" for my message here, allow me to say that I am truly grateful to have an outlet to freely express myself and my feelings.

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If Subtitles were optional on human interactions would you use them or just “wing it”?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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