Nonverbal Cues, and Why I Don't Play Poker

After weeks of subsisting on energy drinks and rice cakes, my body's been craving fresh fruit or vegetables, maybe even a tomato, which I hate, but that's how strong the craving's been.

I lucked out tonight, pulling into a fast food joint that I didn't know had salads. Pre-made, but still, Gorgonzola, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and vinaigrette--what else do you need? Maybe one of those corn bread rolls. I love corn bread.

Leaning toward the cashier, I asked, "How much--"

"The corn bread comes with the salad," he said.

My jaw dropped. This guy was a mind reader. "How did you know I was going to ask that?"

He laughed. "You kept looking at the pan!"

Nonverbal cue! Body language!

Let me rewrite the last part of the scene:

I lucked out tonight, pulling into a fast food joint that I didn't know had salads. Pre-made, but still, Gorgonzola, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and vinaigrette--what else do you need? Maybe one of those corn bread rolls. I love cornbread.

I tilted my head, searching the pan for the biggest roll. Then a different server moved in and swiped the last few. Oh man! The pan was empty.

It's way to early to run out, I thought. They have to make more. I looked up and scanned the menu to see how much a roll cost. Corn bread . . . corn bread . . . corn bread--couldn't find it.

Leaning toward the cashier, I asked, "How much--"

"The corn bread comes with the salad," he said.

My jaw dropped. This guy was a mind reader. "How did you know I was going to ask that?"

He laughed. "You kept looking at the pan!"

Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve (in this case, my stomach)! This fast food worker reminded me once again of the power of nonverbal cues. It's amazing how much we reveal without uttering a word. We can lend this sort of impact to our characters, make them real actors, not just talking heads.

In any case, I always give myself away. I blush easily and startle with a big shake and a Whoop! Don't even ask me to play poker. I know better.

13 comments:

Mary Witzl said...

It's amazing what a few deft touches can do to set a mood or show how someone feels: someone fumbling for a cigarette works so much better than "She was nervous;" someone clenching his fists is far more effective than "He felt angry."

I blush easily too! Nowadays, there aren't many of us blushers left, so we ought to be proud of this ability. Sometime I'd like to try this as a party trick: After a drink or two, I could stand in the spotlight while someone read one of the poems I wrote when I was 14 out loud. I'm sure I could impress a lot of people with my resulting degree of redness.

AmyDoodle said...

Great post. Well done!

Charles Gramlich said...

I always lose at poker myself. And yes, cornbread rocks. We had cornbread for our wedding cake. I kid you not.

Angela said...

Cute story....good thing you were just staring at the cornbread unaware:)

ORION said...

Now this is a fun blog!! Cornbread! Now there's something I don't get often in Hawaii...
We have malasadas and let me tell you standing in line for THOSE puppies you know exactly what everybody is thinking LOL !

Church Lady said...

I love cornbread, and corn fritters, and corn on the cob, and corn syrup....
:-)

Great post!

courtney said...

I was watching What Not to Wear the other night and a woman 'forgot' to bring one of her worst fashion item with her to New York, and every time she said she had forgotten ("Really! I didn't mean to..") she couldn't look Clinton in the eye. He kept pointing it out! It totally reminded me of this entry (which is a great entry)!

ecm said...

I LOVE corn bread, too!

BTW, I also have a very expressive face to my detriment at times. There's always the risk of being misconstrued, I believe. When I toured Japan (with a dance company in a previous life) there was a "game show" that we dancers participated in after a performance. The MC kept calling me "poker face"...??? Maybe he just didn't know my "clueless" face? LOL

Edna
www.justsketch.com

Virginia Lee said...

Lordy, now I'm going to have to make Miss Mama cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving. I can't abide the stuff, but she loves it.

Hey Danette, how are you at Hearts? Or Gin Rummy?

;)

LindaBudz said...

I so love cornbread. One time I gave it up for Lent. When I went to confession on Good Friday and the priest asked what I had given up for Lent, I felt like a total goober saying "cornbread." But he had no idea what a sacrifice that was!

Ello said...

I love poker although people say I give my good hands away by becoming very quiet and still. Cornbread, love cornbread!

Sheri said...

Now that is a thought to ponder as I get back to work!

Happy said...

Funny post:) It's true about the non-verbal things, I have some thoughts about eye contact in non-verbal communications, you may check if you wish;)