Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Hang Loose

3790437853_5a108feb63_m I had lunch today with three friends. After talking business, we digressed to sports and culture. I don’t recall how the subject of hand gestures came up, but before long we were flashing hand gestures at each other then explaining the meaning. We were stuck on Mexican hand gestures for a long time when I jumped in with the Hawaiian and Southern California surf culture standard of shaka or hang loose. Blank looks followed. I explained the various meanings, but said it essentially meant, “Hello.” More blank looks followed, and then the question, “Why would you shake your hand like that to say hello, why not just wave?”. It was then I realized that none of my friends were actually born in America. One immigrated from Mexico, one immigrated from Hong Kong, and one immigrated from Africa by way of France. Yet they were all American to the core and were eager to absorb this latest bit of American trivia. I don’t think of them as foreigners or even immigrants. They are Americans just like me. I rarely find this open mix of people and culture. It does not matter where you come from, once you are in, you are in.

Technorati Tags: