It reminds me of reading something like "Joe Blow went to work with a jammed finger on his hand."
Yes, he had a jammed finger on his hand. Where else would it be? On his head? If he'd said "left hand," that would have been fine. More information and welcome. But he didn't.
Similarly, I read a novel recently in which the writer wrote "He looked back and waved his hand." Again, what else would he have waved? His left ear?
There's always a simple and powerful way to say something. The first woman was smiling; the second guy had a jammed finger; the third guy waved. End of story.
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Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie