The other day driving home from work I cut a guy off. It was 100% my fault. I checked my mirrors, turned on my blinker, but didn’t do the over the shoulder check. By the time I saw him, it was too late. He had to swerve. I looked in my mirror saw the look of disgust and the hands thrown in the air. It could have been worse – I could have caused an accident or he could have used that ubiquitous hand symbol – the middle finger.
It made quasi-headlines when it became new emoji recently. I used said emoji in a group text conversation that included my mother a few weeks back and I was immediately chastised. It takes the woman 2 hours to respond to “Are you okay?”, but insinuate you want to flip off your boss and she’s right there with full caps and exclamation points. But I digress.
I grew up watching FRIENDS, and loyal watchers will remember Ross’ gesture in lieu of the bird that he thought was a secret way to tell his sister to eff off. But sometimes hand gestures represent more passion that juvenile siblings trying to fool their parents.
Do you remember when George W. Bush was POTUS and someone threw a shoe at him? I remember at time thinking what an odd action, but now I totally get it. There are times in my professional career that I’ve grown so frustrated with the person I’m dealing with that I just want to hurl my knock off Louboutin shoe at them and pray it knocks them square in the schnoz.
I think about that whenever I see those random single shoes on the side of the road. Is that lonely little sneaker over there the result of a literal far flung yet silent insult and the window was just down? Is the other shoe waiting to fly as the result of another slight?
There is a simple beauty in using and understanding a hand gesture to tell another person when you are so full of disgust. I did a little research on non-verbal hand gestures and not surprisingly, each geographical locale seems to have its own code.
There is a professional hockey player (Canadian naturally) who learned to insult opposing players in their native language to deliberately needle them. Now, I’m not proposing to learn a new hand gesture to purposely piss of a Russian – those boys do no play lightly – but in the name of furthering my education, I am going to learn some of these new gesticulations to broaden my own horizons.
Maybe this will avoid the wrath of my mother’s censure; maybe this will enlighten me should I unintentionally cut off someone who I am sure is very nice but bites his thumb at me. Maybe I can learn the ‘fig’ to show my boss and not lose my job.