Chapter 3. Gestures


The Dalai Lama holds both hands together as in prayer and makes a slight stiff bow. A rabbi, like Spock, holds his right hand up and flat with pointer and ring fingers separated to make a V. The pope partially stretches out his right hand with fourth and little fingers curled inward. A Baptist lays his palm on your head or shoulder: Blessings are made with the hands.


Different gestures show disdain at different times and places: one thing a traveller must know.


The OK sign means it’s OK. Any OK is OK by me, even if it’s only for the moment.

Air quotes

To make you think I’m “smart,” I say the opposite of what I mean and quote it in the air. I’m not sincere when I’m “sincere,” and I mean it.


The only thing you can say here is “shush.” Put your index finger pointing up before your lips, or pretend your mouth is a zipper and zip it up.


A Salish native holds both hands up and to each side forearms vertical elbows at shoulder level palms backward. Americans and Europeans clap or raise a single thumb with fingers folded in.