Sometimes the best way to say !@#$ YOU is a smile and a wave. I am inhibited in expressing anger towards other people, so when I am. uncomfortable, facing passive aggression from someone, or what have you, I might feel anger, or just generally pissed, and at least want to resolve something I am not happy about. My inner cave woman wants to confront the other person sometimes I can dream up witty remarks, physical retaliations, and passive aggressive actions up the kazoo, but the repercussions from something like this aren’t always the best idea, especially if you have multiple interactions with said object of aggression.
So get your point across in an unconventional ways. I’m human. There are times when I want so badly to just say person’s name or hey you dude @#$% you!! But, recalling a poster from grade school, the act of swearing means that you just don’t have a better way of articulating yourself. So I don’t like to use the F bomb, I don’t want to be THAT person, it seems there are better, or at least more information-ally rich, ways of communicating something. BUT there is something lovely about the curtness, the efficiency, the compactness, of a curse word – there are times in life when someone does need to get a quick message that you at a minimum, are aware of something that they said or did, and have a strong opinion about it.
So since verbalizing “@#$% you” or saying “eat @#$% and die” is out of the question, let’s think body language. A good middle finger could work, but that can lead to the same result of making the other person REALLY PISSED and leading to bad consequences for me. So what sort of body language do we need? Something that acknowledges the other person, and wouldn’t lead to something like road rage. How about a smile and a wave? If someone is being an asshole, they are going to know it, so by smiling and waving that is a response that says “yes, i am aware of you, of maybe what you are doing,” and I’m above it, see this wave? It means exactly what you think it does!” Examples, Vanessa examples!!
Experience 1: I was finishing a run at East Campus one morning, and the bus was waiting at the stop. I was sprinting in, right towards in, in plain sight of a about half filled bus. About 20 feet from the door, it starts to pull away. That’s OK, maybe the driver doesn’t see me. It’s quite a possibility, even though as a bus driver I would be very aware of people approaching my bus upon my decision to move. So I speed up, and make myself very visual. I’m sprinting. I’m next to the bus, I’m next to the door, it’s still not going very fast, I’m waving, I see the driver, now it starts to pick up speed, and I find myself sprinting. What is going through my mind? Perhaps the driver has a strategy, or a rule, to make a decision about going and not stopping, and if that’s the case, she is allowed to stop at the next stop, which is actually very close. I start to lose distance, but I’m still next to the bus. She speeds right by the next bus stop. Finally I’m in an all out sprint and the bus pulls ahead, I’m killing myself running behind the bus, probably a quarter mile total, all around the bus loop down the road and under the bridge from East campus. She’s not stopping. The likelihood that she DIDN’T see me and NO one else on the bus did and alert her, is pretty small, and she didn’t bother to stop for me at the next stop, where she is allowed to stop. She’s obviously having a bad day, or taking something out on me, and there is no way she is going to stop. So I give up.
The entire experience really made me feel badly. it really hurt my feelings. I know she saw me, and my effort. So I start walking, for maybe 5 seconds, catch my breath, and then I feel something grow inside me. Despite my exhaustion from my already hard effort, I feel a second wind. And then I take off, at about a race pace, and I almost kill myself to make it to the bus stop on Anderson, where I would have gotten off. And since the bus loop is about half a mile longer than the straight shot, and the bus has to stop to pick up people, I beat the bus. And I stopped, and stood there to wait. Saw the bus approaching, and thought about what I might do. I could just stand there and stare, maybe put my hands on my hips, flash a quick middle finger? Did I want this to happen again, or confuse people on the bus that hadn’t seen our interaction? Did I care?
I started a big early wave, a big smile, and just held it. Looked the driver directly in the face when she passed, kept smiling and waving until the pass was complete. Oh damn, did it feel good. And I’m sure that some of the passengers on the bus going from East to West were aware of her leaving me behind, it might have caused them some discomfort, and then maybe fulfilled or inspired by my small, but impressive and inspiring motion of peaceful retalliation. I’m not really sure, but in the long run, it was a better release of my frustration then anything involving anger or even verbalization, or just keeping the feeling inside and not expressing it, because I see that driver quite frequently. And I €˜ve actually earned her respect. I wave at all the drivers while I’m running, but now she waves at me too, and I choose to interpret that wave as “damn girl you sure showed me, and you’re not so bad”
Experience 2: An individual was staring at me in the gym, in an uncomfortable way. I don’t mind harmless looking, or even a little staring, but when it gets so prolonged to the point that I am feeling violated by someone else’s eyes, that it really isn’t acceptable to me, the situation changes. It was an older individual and I might have been more flattered or at least subconsciously extended my time before feeling initial discomfort had that not been the case, but I had to let him know that I was aware of his staring, and maybe he needed to either stop, or do something more socially appropriate like converse with me. But the peeping around poles and staring thing was too creepy. So I just smiled and waved, and he went away. it was perfect, haha. Something like this works because the message of the gesture all is determined in the mind of the person receiving it, or seeing it.
So think of unconventional ways of sending a message, which sometimes requires taking a deep breath and stopping yourself from an immediate, reflex like reaction. And when in doubt, a smile and a wave seems like a good idea, to me. Gee
Sochat, Vanessa. "Unconventional Forms of Communication." @vsoch (blog), 13 Jun 2008, https://vsoch.github.io/2008/unconventional-forms-of-communication/ (accessed 20 Mar 23).