Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nonverbal

South Burlington, VT

A few weeks ago, we were traveling north along The Champlain Canal by boat. As we departed from one of the locks, I noticed two men sitting and fishing at the edge of the lock wall. One of the men was talking. He raised his hands in front of his belly, palms inward in the classical gesture of someone telling a fish story. Then as I watched, his hands drifted farther apart as he told his story.

I was too far away for verbal communication with the man, but as the boat passed, I managed to get eye contact with him. I raised my hands to the fish story position spread just as widely as his hands. Then I moved my hands still farther apart. The man broke into a big ear-to-ear grin and he responded by moving his hands apart to the full length of his arms. I did likewise.

Nonverbal message sent and received, allowing two passing strangers to share a warm moment

1 comment:

  1. I use that same gesture often when passing anglers in boats or on the bank. They almost always respond with a similar gesture, indicating whether they have caught large or small fish or none, happy in all instances to relate their relative success. Yes, it does generate warmth on both ends.

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