Monday, November 13, 2006

Sign Language

Another attorney and I participated in a conference call with some clients today. The attorney was not someone who I had worked with before, so I am not used to her style. During our conference call, the attorney made many odd hand gestures that I can only describe as:

traveling
around the world
the fish was this big
climbing a ladder
emphatic pointing
riding the wave
rolling with my homeys
spirit fingers

I have no idea what any of those gestures meant. Even the pointing. OMG, the pointing. At what was she pointing? And why was she so emphatic about it?

She was trying to communicate with me through these gestures, but I could only stare at her blankly. There was one set of gestures that she repeated several times in a row.

I just stared.

She repeated the gestures more emphatically.

I blinked.

She gestured again and then mouthed, "Ask him."

"You want me to ask who what?" I whispered.

She whispered, "Write this down and ask him."

I realized that she meant I was supposed to write down what the client was saying and then ask the senior partner about the issue. Unfortunately, by then the client had moved on to another subject and I had missed the entire discussion because I was trying to translate weird hand signals, so I just wrote down in my notes, "Ask Partner something about the agreement," so that it looked like I was writing down something important.

I had to follow up with the client later, so I was able to figure out the issue that I had missed in the call, so it all worked out ok. Except I am scared to ever be on a call with this woman again. Who knows what else she was signalling to me.

13 comments:

Stinkypaw said...

Almost reads like a bad game of mime or something - there's always one player that acts out things that nobody can make out. Maybe that woman is that player?!

claire said...

I'm trying to figure out what the spirit fingers could possibly be. There are only a few situations where that particular hand gesture works, but they all involve gloves that are one color on top and another color on your palms. Not so much in a law office.
*spirit, woo!*

stefanie said...

I am jealous, for I have never been involved in a meeting that inspired "rolling with the homeys" sort of hand gestures. Lucky you. ;-)

Sparkling Cipher said...

If it would not have meant being totally unprofessional and possibly making you look bad in front of a client, I would say you totally should have responded with gestures of your own - like a little itsy-bitsy spider, some "check please", maybe a shoot-the-gun.

Hey, if she can confuse you with strange hand gestures, you should be allowed a little oddness yourself.

schneids said...

LOL!!! I love this post!

i agree...you should have responded with hand gestures of your own.

I am particulary fond of the "itsy bitsy spider" or the "check please" one. Maybe you could have given her the famous "L" sign on your forehead. Just a thought.

Lawyerish said...

Oh, God. I AM that woman. I have a whole repertoire of wild gestures that I do all the time, and I am sure no one knows why I'm doing them. Except usually I am speaking at the time, so hopefully it's clear. On conference calls, I just push the mute button rather than trying to mouth/signal something to whomever's in the room.

3carnations said...

Maybe you need to send an email to human resources that you have not received the "Corporate Sign Language" training, and could they please sign you up for that as soon as possible.

LC said...

You have no idea how interested I am in you telling us what the 'rolling with my homeys' looks like.

I have found myself doing the gangsta peace sign to people when they say hi to me (the one where you do the peace sign but on your chest? Not so freely. It's all, this peace is mine, yo.Yeah, I am totally lost).

I have no idea where I picked it up, or why I am doing it, but I am certain my boss is not at all entertained.

Christine said...

You should tell her next time to use her "big girl words" like I tell my cousin's four year old when she's acting out. I betcha it would go over really well.

jen said...

How hard is it to jot down a quick note to you? Or better yet, for her to just make a note to herself to ask the client herself later? Sometimes the amount of energy people will expend to get someone else to do something they could just as easily do themselves is silly.

PreppyGirl said...

All I can think is: "Baby Fish Mouth!"

Maybe she needs a little white board to carry around. Clearly her "charades" gestures are not up to snuff.

Word, homey.

Jenny said...

Rolling with my homeys. Hee!

PS. My coworker and I have secret hand gestures for "I told you that bitch is crazy" and "Do I look like I have moron written across my face?"

jes said...

Dude. Someone needs to have a conversation with crazy gesture lady about the mute button.