he was a table tapper
finger tips drumming
a little beat on the table
fingernails on plate
darting along the edge
filling the silent spots
as if the clatter of cutlery
as if the chatter from tables
around us wasn’t enough
as if the restaurant music
as if our conversation
Often we unconsciously develop habits that we aren’t even aware of – nervous actions that become so automatic it’s nearly impossible to stop them. One of the challenging part of quitting smoking is to figure out what to do with your hands. Spoken-word writers frequently gesture with their hands as they perform, sometime to emphasize what there saying & when told to not do it, find it impossible not to do. You’d have to tie their hands down & even then their shoulders, their body language gets in the act.
Fidgeting fidgeting is another those hard-to-contain habits. constantly shaking one foot or the other, pulling at the ends of one’s hair, rocking back-and-forth while sitting in a chair. Some made worse when nervous. In high school there was a pen-clicker in one of my classes. One day a teacher grabbed the pen from his hand & threw it in the wastepaper basket. Thank God for Bic.
I read of a pencil chewer who contracted some sort of poisoning from the paint, or was it the preservative, in the wood of a pencil being chomped on – there was a of lawsuit which was lost because pencils weren’t sold to be eaten. I wonder if they had start printing that on them, like warnings on coffee cups ‘contents may be hot’ – ‘not for consumption.’ The things some people put in their mouths lol.
This piece is about all these ‘tics’ & also about a real person who was one of those ‘drummers’ – they would tap along with whatever music might be on in a restaurant. Once even with a spoon on the table. I once asked why they did this & they looked at me as if I said ‘stop breathing.’ Now, if they were actually in time with the music, it might not have so irritating but it was like mindless, tuneless humming. They stopped for a few minutes, then started up again & caught themselves.
“I didn’t even know I was doing that!”
I was cracking my knuckles to Beethoven’s Fifth and didn’t hear them.
What sort of ‘tics’ do you have or what sort bother you?