Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Hands

I'm very aware of my hands.

I close them, carefully, deliberately, so that my muscles pull my skin taught and the veins on the back stand out, bluish. I stretch them out; thumb to pinky I can reach an octave and a half, though I'd never play much more than an octave. I turn them over, I pop my thumb out, I crack my knuckles, each one, separately. I practice the sign language alphabet. I wreck my nails.

It's not something I do thoughtlessly; to the contrary, I find that it is only when I really think about my hands that I bother doing it at all. I'm sitting somewhere, in a car, maybe, or at a desk, or at a restaurant, and suddenly I'm thinking about my hands and opening them and closing them and wrecking my nails.

I could say I'm doing it to confirm that they're still there, but I'm not. I could say I'm admiring the design, examining the handiwork that went into making me the evolutionary miracle that I am, or that I want to really mean it when I say I know something like the back of my hand, but if you really quizzed me I doubt I could tell you what the back of my hands really looked like. I'm not testing out muscles; I'm not practicing piano. I'm really just very aware of my hands, and so it feels natural to move them around.

I like to think of things as endearing. Little things, like stuttering and freckles and constantly-crooked glasses, looking for the perfect word, or having a weird laugh, or spontaneous dancing. They seem endearing. I guess I sort of hope that my hand thing is endearing.

Don't tell me if it isn't.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

your hand thing is definitely endearing

Anonymous said...

^^that's a lie^^

Carissa said...

hum...

Don't be creepy! said...

Is that a hoovooloo? Forgive me if I forget the exact definition...

emma said...

an octave and a half??? for real?

The Muffin Man. said...

That picture is maaaaaaagical

Abby said...

Aw... sure it is, Sam

Maybe the way people fidget with themselves is telling of how they use their bodies. I had a friend at camp who was always flexing his elbows and running through punching exercises without thinking about it because he's been practicing martial arts for a long time. My mom is always pointing and un-pointing her toes because of her years of ballet (I do it too, actually, and I haven't even done much dancing). A kid at my school plays guitar, and he's constantly cracking his knuckles and fiddling with his fingers. It's like you said: what you do reflects how conscious you are of your own physical structure.

darn skippy said...

abby who at your school??
i find that i crack my knuckles most when i am unaware of anything going on around me and i am daydreaming or something and it isn't until someone cringes or points out that i am doing it until i really notice, but then i notice the rest of the day on that now slightly off sounding pop that comforts me so

Abby said...

Oh, wow I'm dumb, I mean to type "camp," not "school." Freudian slip. His name is Michael Murray, I'm pretty sure you don't know him. My b, Jon. Are you still blogging, bee tee dubs?

banana-PHONE!!! said...

yeah i am
and ah camp yeah don't know him