Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Wave her off:

After my morning radio show on WPRB, the first third of my mile-walk home is uphill. There's a bus that runs up campus every few minutes, and I'm always happy to catch it.
When I drive to the station, I take a long walk through the parking garage and then a short walk to the station. That same bus picks people up at the garage, and sometimes I can see the driver waiting for stragglers.
Two weeks ago I saw the driver, a hundred feet away, waiting for me. I thought that was a shame. She would wait for me to come out of the parking garage and turn away toward the radio station, and then realize she had waited in vain. I needed to give some sort of hand signal that would convince her not to wait.
After a moment's thought, I cocked my arm, palm out, fingers spread, and swung my arm down. I had gotten it right. She drove away.


Anonymous said...

I did a few google searches but couldn't find anything to explain the reference. Would you mind?

tobyr21@gmail.com said...

There's no reference, really. "Wave her off" means to give some sort of wave to tell the other person to back away. And I found a gesture that worked.

I think there is a subtext here, and I will mention it. The world of computer programs is full of icons that are supposed to be so meaningful that we users can grasp their functionality at once. In reality, the majority of icons make sense mostly to the people who created them. It's hard to invent truly meaningful gestures.

As a software developer, I have been very vocal about this issue. I think that inventing a hand gesture is just as hard as inventing an icon whose meaning is obvious, so I approached my task with humility.
- PB