Since we’ve established why we raise our hands, can we talk about why, as we transition into grown ups, raising one’s hand is so flippin’ inappropriate?
We’re going to start this off with one of my many, many questions. To be fair, there are occasions when it is okay to raise your hand. You can raise your hand to hail a cab, to signal to someone where you are, you can raise your hands in church (depending on your faith), don’t try that is some churches, they’ll think you were sent by Satan.
… but apparently it is not okay to raise your hand in a restaurant to let your server know you need assistance. Now, I’m not talking about waving one’s hands wildly about and yelling out “pardon me, Garcon!” I mean simply raising one’s hand until the server has acknowledged. It is also deemed unseemly to raise one’s hand in a store to catch the eye of an employee. Huh. There really are very few places where adults are allowed to raise their hands
So: if I wait (in an exceptionally busy restaurant) until my server stops by to check on our table when all I need is – say a fork – but the server is pretty sure we are set until it is time to check for drink refills, then what? People get super huffy (yes, I used the word huffy) when service isn’t immaculate. I don’t. I don’t need perfect, but if I do need a fork and I raise my hand so you see me, why is that bad? I’m not harassing. I’m not making ugly faces. I’m not demanding special attention, or free food. I just need a fork so that I can eat before my food gets cold. I see you’re busy, I’m not asking you to stop taking the order you’re taking. I’m not asking you to take care of me before you serve those drinks, or greet those folks the hostess just walked in… just gimme a nod and then come see me. I’ll be honest, I tip well. I understand the food service industry’s financial structure when it comes to servers. It’s not great.
And: If I’m in a store and I get excited when I find something I just fell in love with (typically it sparkles, and has bows, but it might be the latest and greatest drip line system at Lowe’s) and I need help with it I should NEVER raise my hand in order to get assistance. That is rude and insulting. Apparently I have to go in search of an employee, usually helping another customer, and wait patiently (of course). The rules of etiquette dictate it is rude to interrupt, ergo I need to silently follow said employee and fellow customer on their trek around whichever store I’m in and wait my turn for assistance, then — maybe?
(Let’s take a moment to think about how freaked out that other customer is right now since I’ve just followed him or her silently around the store waiting for my turn with the store’s employee… I know, right?!? Suuuper creepy.)
Now I have to hope that:
- What I wanted is still there.
- I remember where it is.
- I remember what it is.
I’ve been told more than once my exuberance is embarrassing. So my enthusiasm, my happiness for just being here and in the moment is embarrassing? Yep, I raise my hand. I want to talk to someone about what I need. I’d much rather do that than sit and stew, get mad or frustrated. I’d much rather do that and just be me. And guess what? I’ve seen people in shops looking lost and having absolutely no idea what to do. I don’t work at those places, but I know I hate that feeling, so I’ve asked them “do you need help?” Some will tentatively tell me they do. If I know the answer of course I’ll help. If I don’t, I’ll tell them I don’t and I’ll say “let’s find out” – then I’ll raise my hand.
I can honestly thank my Mom and Nancy for my love of life and joyful enthusiasm. My Mom saw the bright side of everything. Nancy would skip through parking lots with me on our way into shopping centers and libraries. Love and laughter was and is a way of life.
As for raising my hand, I thank so many teachers. Not only did they teach me respect, they taught me to ask questions, they taught me to wait my turn; they taught me that my ideas where important. They taught me to raise my hand.