Being of Italian descent means a conversation with me doesn’t just contain words…
I also talk with my hands.
In fact, if you travel to Italy, you’ll witness that words aren’t even necessary in a conversation. You’ll see an energetic flow of hands, dancing back and forth between two people. Hands play just as important a role as words do, in relaying a thought or an idea.
Back stateside…I remember that my speech professor in college was frustrated by the use of my hands. She joked that she would like to tie my hands to the podium since they “distracted” the audience from focusing on my spoken words.
I always begged to differ — I knew that my hands were just as capable as my words in getting my point across.
All this came to mind tonight as I sat in a local coffee shop to escape the chilly rain that plagued Manhattan.
The coffee shop was unusually quiet….reason being it was mostly full of young college students cramming for final exams.
As I sipped a steaming Sumatra, I noticed a woman, two tables away, who was video chatting with a man on the other end of the connection.
The curious thing about the video chat was that she too was silent. She didn’t utter a word.
Instead, the woman was using sign language to communicate with her on-screen companion…
Even though their dialogue contained no spoken words, their exchange was full of warmth and enthusiasm. The woman’s hands expressed emotion: joy, surprise, happiness….all brought to life through her two hands.
Her fingers conveyed feelings and her smile was the proof that the message came through loud and clear.
So tonight, over a cup of java, I was reminded of how communication takes on different forms. There is the written word, the spoken word, and even a word sung here and there.
And there is also the signed word…equally as poignant and powerful.
This photo is of the woman who made me smile tonight in the coffee shop…