Monday, January 24, 2011

A sigh is just a sigh... Or is it?

We all know the line from the song made famous in the movie "Casablanca". Ilsa cajoles Sam as she smiles sweetly and says, " Play it, Sam, for old times' sake, play 'As Time Goes By'."  And Sam croons "You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh. . ."

Ah, the sigh.  According to Webster's Online Dictionary "sigh is an intransitive verb and offers this as a definition: to take a deep audible breath (as in weariness or relief)".  We relish those sighs that are associated with love and longing, yearning and even pining; well, afterall, they are almost swoons.

But is a sigh just a sigh ?  Or is it something else?

When doing a bit of research to find out why some people seem to be in sigh overdrive, I came across this information from the Discovery News in a piece entitled: Why we sigh (It's a human reset button).

  • Sighing is an essential part of an inherently chaotic system: breathing.
  • Researchers find that breathing before and after sighs fits the "re-setter hypothesis" for sighs.
  • Sighs help people on ventilators, but too much sighing can be trouble for anyone. 
This didn't satisfy my curiosity one bit so I plowed forward through cyberspace and learned that this can be a symptom of panic disorder in some people.  People also sigh when frustrated, bored,  fatigued, and to relieve anxiety. But I'm more interested in people who sigh for emphasis.

Every now and again you run into one of these people who are loud sighers and they do it to prove their superiority.  When you don't buy some off the wall explanation that they made up or got from someone and they didn't question the validity of the answer and you push them for an response, they sigh.  When you are all working on the same project at the same time and all is quiet, they sigh. When you contribute something in a meeting that doesn't suit their own immediate it's only about me goals, they look up from their facebook page and sigh. These sighs are meant to emphasize that the sigher thinks that the person or persons they are dealing with are morons, buffoons and idiots.  Sighers don't hold back thoughts that they are the smartest person in the room and that the rest of us are too stupid to have anything to contribute, hence, the facebook page used as a form of entertainment during a meeting. They sigh loudly to emphasize how exhausted they are from doing all that work and assume that the rest of us who are not sighing all over the place haven't done anything because if we were working hard we would be sighing too.  They sigh to emphasize their frustration at having to deal with us; the rest of the world. 

So keep an eye open for sighers who can, by the way, often be spotted with their arms crossed, shaking their head no and rolling their eyes.

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