Monday, August 18, 2014

The Salute

When someone arrives or leaves we generally acknowledge the activity, whether we're the ones coming, going, or staying. There's often a verbal acknowledgement: "Hi!" "Bye!" "Hey!" "Later!" However, making noise at each other isn't enough. We almost always have some sort of hand gesture to go along with these greetings and farewells.

There are many gestures people use when greeting others or saying farewell. Most people wave in some form or another:

Open palm wagging above the head.

A casual, motionless display of the palm.

A wiggling of the fingers.

The finger-hinge.

The list goes on.

Some people just casually hold up two fingers.

Particularly cool people might hold up an imaginary gun and shoot the people they're talking to.

I, however, opt for the simple, respectful salute.

I'm not sure why I ended up with the salute. Maybe it just felt less silly than waving, though in my experience people kinda disagree about that. For them, saluting the the weird gesture, and it wold be better if I waggled my hand a bit.

Regardless, I've never been in the military, so it's not a motion that's been drilled into me by any outside force. I do appreciate the supposed history of the gesture, that it was originally used by knights showing respect for each other by lifting their visors to show their faces, but to be honest I learned of that history after it was already a habit.

For me, it really is just a different sort of wave. There isn't any further meaning behind the gesture, except insofar as I take it to be a more respectful gesture than waves. Showing respect to people is important to me, particularly toward people I like.

Unfortunately, I think the motion gets taken the wrong way sometimes. I suspect that some people think I'm using the gesture ironically, either to mock the military or to imply that the recipient is not worthy of respect. However, that's simply not the case. I'm almost always sincere, and if I'm not I try to make that fact clear.

Also, sometimes when I salute people they feel the need to salute me back when clearly they would have otherwise gone for a wave or no gesture at all. (Blasphemy.) I take no offense to these gestures, but it really isn't necessary. I'm simply gesturing in a way that feels natural to me, so you go ahead and gesture in a way that feels natural to you.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

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