Your index finger is an amazing device. Is there a more important digit? I don’t know. I guess that’s why sports people and sports fans who want to stress their hegemony in their league or group simply hold up their index finger, perhaps also mouthing the words ‘number one, baby!’

When I’m driving in the west of Ireland, especially the wild, very west of Ireland – also known as Connemara – I enjoy the silent language of mutual acknowledgement as two cars pass each other.

As the car approaches there is a casual check of the car to see if it’s someone you know – for Ireland is a village, and you’d be surprised how often you bump into someone you know, even for a ‘blow-in’ like me – then a check of of the registration plate to see if it sports the letter ‘G’ for County Galway. If it’s a local car, then the index finger of one of the hands at the ‘ten to two’ position on the steering wheels raises slightly, almost imperceptibly. Nine times of ten it is seen and acknowledged in the same way.

Such is the way in the land of a hundred thousand welcomes, from the tip of your index finger.

 

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