I talk with my hands.
I, in fact, almost named this web blog "Talking with My Hands" because I liked how this could be a place for me to tell my thoughts and stories, adding illustrations where I would usually gesture crazily with my hands.
I don't know if you are like me and are a hand-talker, but it's a really annoying habit to have. When people know you do it, they will occasionally stop listening to your over-the-top story in order to observe your over-the-top hand gestures. And you still can't stop it.
It's like a killer instinct. A ninja instinct.
It causes endless amusement to those of my friends who have caught on. I will mime to the extreme whatever my words are trying to express. I feel like a shadow puppet master, making shapes and motions like Mary Martin in "Peter Pan". It's truly an art.
I get it from my mother.
One night in particular, I recall my family giving my mom a really hard time about her hands constantly moving when she spoke. I'm from a pretty big family- two brothers, a sister, and my parents- and we all like to tease the others and joke in good fun. If you can't laugh at yourself, you won't do well around my family. And if you can't laugh at yourself and possibly laugh at others, you should probably avoid my giant extended family.
We think we're funny...
Anyway, my mom was actually seeming to get annoyed with our teasing so, we all tried to take it easy and just listen to her story. However, she was making it exceptionally difficult...
It looked like she was doing some crazy version of the YMCA. While her story was obviously rather interesting, all we could do was laugh. Once we noticed just how often she talked with her hands, we couldn't NOT notice long enough to listen. Plus, we wanted to mess with her even more now, having ample ammunition.
My brothers found that if you held her hands "nicely" while she was trying to tell a story, she'd start to stutter and be unable to speak full sentences.
Mom: Yeah! So..um... we walked helicopter... house... OH MY GOSH- What are you two doing?!
Mom: Stop it! I don't believe you!
Brothers: We just want to hold your hands in an experiment.
Mom: I...wha...that is unbelievably...you... insulting!
Once she realized the game, she tried valiantly to defy them and tell her story any way, hands imprisoned or not. By J.K. Rowling, she was going to tell her story or kill my brothers trying!
And yet, try as she might, she couldn't tell her story without being able to gesture elaborately. She got frustrated and annoyed with my brothers and I began to feel genuinely bad for our teasing. I made everyone stop laughing and tried to defend my poor mother... it was all in good fun but, now it was just mean spirited.
Shock filled me as my family erupted in laughter. My dad actually choked on his double-buttered garlic bread he was laughing so hard.
I was hit with the swift realization that I now was now going to be the subject of torment for the evening.
For those of you who think my mom would have defended me, especially since she clearly brainwashed me to talk like a crazy person, you'd be wrong. She was right there with the rest of them, laughing and teasing like a champ.