Yesterday, I watched the X-Files episode, Elegy, while exercising. Without divulging too many plot details, the episode centered around an individual with autism, Harold Spuller, who appears to have a particular psychic link to several other people. At several points during the episode, Harold Spuller becomes upset, and uses his various methods of self-soothing to try to cope -- for example, he recites bowling scores that he has memorized. He also flaps one hand in his lap or at his side, opening and closing it repetitively, as if trying to release the hold of his emotion by shaking it out of his hand.
And with a start of recognition, I realized: I do that.
What does it mean, that I'm a hand flapper? I do not know. I do know, though, that I will be particularly sensitive to hand-flapping in other people when I see it, because I understand exactly how it is used to try to cope with emotion. Flap away, people -- and I'll flap with you.
(I found this great image here: