The hand-waving issue...

Ok, this category is bound to get us into some trouble. The aim is to discuss some of the stereotypes about Sicilians and to a certain extend Italians in general. Dispell them where they don't fit but provide helpful guidance for visitors when it is required. Objectivity at all times is the one guiding principle.

So, first issue on the agenda is the hand-waving issue.

Yes it is true. Italians wave their hands. A lot. Or better - more than average. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, very helpful - especially when you are learning the language or are forced to deal with one of the many dialects. The right wave of the hand at the right moment is more immediate and succint than your best of dictionaries.

Only one problem with hand-waving to watch out. Drivers... They also wave their hands (especially on the hot, slow roads of Sicily) and the hands tend to be hanging outside the window. And this is confusing unless you are aware of it, because the first reaction is to think "What's wrong? Are they turning? Should I slow down? Do I know them?" - No, none of the above. They are just talking to the passengers.... or on the mobile phone (yes italians wave their hands even when they are on the phone... and yes this means they have only one hand on the wheel).

But relax, enjoy the scenery and remember... always keep your distance :-)

Written on
August 11, 2004
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