By ice rivers
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I'm a winker not a "wanker".
When it comes to punctuation, air quotes stand for winks. If you catch my drift.
If I'm walking through the mall and I catch somebody's eye while they are catching mine, I try to "judge" whether to acknowledge the passing connection with a wink.
Usually I reach the right conclusion and my wink is responded to with a return wink or a smile or a tip of the hat or a nod sometimes all three at once.
Back in my teaching days when students were giving their reports in front of the class, I required that they make good eye contact. I instructed the listeners to be attentive and keep their eyes on the speaker.
I instructed to speaker to pursue eye contact. When the speaker got that clear contact with a listener, the listeners were to respond by raising their hands at the moment of connection. By the end of the report, I wanted to see every hand in the air; palms facing forward.
Since everybody in the audience had only two hands, the maximum amount of raised palms could only be two per student. Hand waves were also accepted once both hands had been raised, so the speaker could come back to an individual istener four times in one report.
I further instructed the speakers to pause a moment before beginning their report and look at their classmates and use wait time for atention. Some student speakers could get 10 hand raises before they started their speech.
A totally engaging report would result in 100% of the listeners with both hands in the air and waving
That was the goal.
Some speakers were very, very good at it and I hope that it has served them well as adults.
Some, like Thornton Krell, might be able to pull off the trinity. Establish eye contact with one person while shaking hands with another while winking at a third or in a less crowded room contacting shaking and winking at one person at a time.
Let's face it, eye contact is potent.
Still it requires judgement because the mall isn't a classroom and you don't want to make eye contact with everybody because there are a lot of nuts out there who see contact as a challenge and a reason to fight.
"You lookin at me? Whatchoo lookin at."
"Don't blink at me, perv."
Sad isn't it?
Ya gotta be careful.
Especially in New York City where avoiding eye contact has develped into an art form.
Now in conclusion, let's return to "winks" as applied to punctuation (which is a much safer environmen)t...the air quote.
As a "winker" and a "writer", I have to continuosly "fight" the "urge" to use air quotes much more frequently than I do, especially when I slip into sollipsism and think that "I" am the only real thing in the "universe" and that "you" are someone that I've manufactured in my writing to pretend that "you" are reading the words that I'm pretending to write to you even though the "words" are somehow showing up before "our" very eyes in order that "we" might misunderstand them as "humor" or "surreal" or a "rant" or as anything "other" than an "inspiration" to write about the "Blues"
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I'm a winker. You're in
I'm a winker. You're in NC, right? You're in the South. We wink, we nod, we make eye contact, we acknowledge. We call each other baby, honey, sweetheart, we bless one another, checking out at the grocery store the clerk might ask you what you're going to make with the groceries you're buying and share her recipe. Stopped at the pet store today. Clerk asked me what I'm feeding. Told her snakes, lizards and a rabbit. She said Awwwww, you got so many babies. Stay safe, honey. Stay safe. Here that's said a lot during hurricane season and just in general. Driven through NA many times en route to VA to visit my sissy. If you taught the way that you write then, in the Southern tradition, bless your heart. ***the good Southern tradition, cause sometimes we use it to mitigate an insult: She can't walk right in those heels . . . bless her heart.
Appreciate the read
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