Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don't speak

 Anyone who knows me knows I like to talk. I'm a word vommer who both craves and delights in human contact, so much so that I am likely to skip the ATM and walk into the bank, and eschew paying at the pump to catch up with my gas station guy. I abhor self-checkout and catch a lot of flack among friends for always insisting on riding shotgun with the cabbie.

Between G-chat, Twitter, Facebook, texting and their ilk, it seems to me that modern technology makes it simpler and simpler to go your whole day without uttering a word to anyone out loud. Hell, you can know how someone's day was without ever asking them, simply by staring voyeuristically at their Instagram feed.

Basically, I'm all about the old-fashioned gift of gabbing it up with friends, family, friends-of-friends, people within earshot of your car open car window . . . you get the gist. I make a concerted effort to interact.

So I didn't know how to feel this weekend at the lake when a friend of ours, a fifth grade teacher, revealed her method of classroom noise-control. Instead of the "use your words, not your hands" mantra that I grew up with, she flipped the switch by teaching her students to use a series of hand motions to convey the scope of their needs and opinions — silently. 

It borrowed heavily from American Sign Language, with a bit of contemporary gesticulation tossed in. For example, "yes" or "I agree" was a double-handed jazz wave of sorts. To convey the opposite, you made the "CUT!" sign a movie director would at your neck. Kinda sassy like. If you had to pee, you crossed your fingers (the way your legs would be if you really had to pee), stuck your hand in the air and waved it around as if to say "THIS IS AN EMERGENCY."

As the night wore on and the moonshine got passed around and the beers got made into shandies and the sun went down, words somehow seemed . . . less important, or maybe just less coherent. So much time was spent recounting words we'd spoken years ago and singing other people's that we didn't have to string together many of our own, original sentences. 

Plus, I have to admit it was pretty convenient to be able to shoot your hand in the air when you had to tinkle. You didn't even have to bother removing the bottle from your face-hole! 

So I suppose the lesson here is that even for a chatty Cathy like myself, when it comes to using your words it boils down to this: 

No comments:

Post a Comment