When Sitting Bull first enters, he and I engage in reverent greeting, sign language accompanying our dialogue. My first line ends with "...you.. honour.. us all.. with your presence," each break having it's own signed gesture. For "presence" I alternate randomly between two signs: the first one starts with my hand outstretched in front of me, about level with the top of my head, palm up, hand open. As I say "presence" I bring my hand down evenly to waist level and slightly close my hand, as though catching in slow motion a ball dropped in front of me at arms length. It represents the ethereal soul or aura as "presence". The second sign I use also starts with hand in front at top-of-head level but close in, arm bent 90 degrees, hand open on edge, with palm turned towards my face. On "presence" I bring the hand down in front of my face like a window shade and slowly close my fist on top of my other hand. This indicates the physical being as "presence". Well tonight my brain didn't choose between the two but created a new hybrid gesture: I held my hand open palm up in front of me but only at about half arms length then brought it down in front of my face, my elbow close in to my body, and at the end closed my fist, palm up, forearm slightly inclining outward. Go ahead and picture it. It was only after I had finished "presence" that I realised I'd created the universal sign for "erection". "Presence" indeed. Fortunately Sitting Bull was too preoccupied with his horse to notice or we may have both snorted and laughed like 10 year olds who just discovered "fart" in the dictionary.
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