The Short Story
By Jan Bassarear
I fell in love with the courtroom when I was 10 years old. We were married when I was 23. I am 41 now. Last April I had a brief but meaningful affair with CART. A divorce may be pending.
The Arrogance That Was to Blame
I thought that 18 years in the courtroom had prepared me for just about whatever they could throw at me. After doing two realtime breast implant trials, CART should be a piece of cake. I mean, you can drop, you can paraphrase, you can prepare ahead of time. This is not work - this is easy.
The National Women's Studies Association was holding its 20th annual seminar in Albuquerque. Alexa Schriempf, a deaf graduate student in philosophy from the University of Oregon, would be a panel speaker and also would be attending all four days of the seminar. She would need captioning for the entire event.
Alexa took me to the following presentations:
- Keynote speaker, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivac: Feminism Without Frontiers
- Making Our Way. A panel presentation addressing adult identity and professional development in the academy.
- Differences in Ambiguity: Race, Class and Sexuality in Gender Transgressions
- Remapping Our Bodies, Reconstructing Our Selves: A Dialogue Across the Disciplines
- Lesbian Feminism and the Queer Theory: Beyond the Great Divide
- Can a Disabled Woman Be a Feminist. A panel in which Alexa presented her thesis entitled "Epistemology and Disability: Using Epistemic Privilege to Navigate."
- Undisciplined Women: Forging New Identities in Women's Sports, Lesbian Co-parenting and Feminist Theories of the Disciplines
- Disability Task Force. A panel discussion/presentation in which Alexa participated as a speaker.
- Professional Philosophers and Philosophizing the Personal, or Since the Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living, Can I Examine Mine and Put it on My CV
- No Limits for Women I: Exploring Internalized Developing Strategies of Oppression Resistance
- Community, Solidarity, Difference: The Epistemology and Politics of Lesbian Space
- Philosophies of the Body: Emancipatory Refigurations
- The Transgressive Subtexts of Disability and Femininity: Re/presentations of Women With Disabilities in Literature, Film and Media
Each presentation had three or four women who presented their topic under the heading listed above. Some of the women read their presentation from a college thesis. Some were writings that would serve as the basis for books they were planning to write on the topic later. There was a question and answer period after each presentation.
The seminars spanned the distance of two separate hotels. There were, at times, only 10 minutes between seminars for me to pack up, travel and set up again. Most of the women in the association had had no contact with realtiming, so I did a great deal of sensitizing these college educators to the needs of people who are hearing-impaired.
The Infatuation Ends and Reality Sets In
I went to bed each night in progressively more pain. My shoulders ached. My back hurt. I bought a file on wheels to carry my equipment and to serve as a table for Alexa's monitor. It was an excellent way to pack up, travel and set up again quickly without needing much space. I was being indoctrinated into a new world with new vocabulary, and I needed to understand - quickly! I studied my material at night, added words to my dictionary, and asked everyone and anyone to explain the concepts that I didn't understand.
My brain hurt from intense, prolonged concentration. But, I was thrilled to be a part of what these women were doing.
CART for Court Reporters
CART requires more active mental participation for the court reporter than does verbatim reporting. The material can be paraphrased, but the reporter must truly understand the concept to paraphrase it well. Names can be avoided, but not entirely. If the name is not written, the person must still be identified for the client. Background noises must be explained, such as laughter, so the court reporter must remain alert and sensitive to what the client cannot hear.
As we enter the new millennium, truly the Age of Information, we, as court reporters, are privileged to be at the forefront of the technology that brings knowledge to hearing-impaired people. There is not enough of a market for CART in Albuquerque at the present time to entice me away from my 18-year marriage to the District Court. But I'm keeping my eye on it. CART is an exciting, challenging facet of court reporting that involves people and issues unlike the ones we deal with in a legal setting. We are truly part of an exciting profession in an exciting world.
About the Author:
Jan Bassarear, RPR, CRR, is from Albuquerque, N.M.