You know what I mean. THE SIGH. You're standing in line with three little 'uns and you hear it. That little puff of air. Usually nasal. Slow in, quick out. Oh, you're meant to hear it. But when you turn, they smile at you. It's the equivalent of sending a snarky blog comment as 'anonymous.'
There are several versions to THE SIGH. There's the behind-the-back-I'm-letting-you-know-I'm-in-a-hurry sigh: THE PUFF. That one is probably on the bottom of the totem pole. Higher up is THE HUFF SIGH. It has a slight 'huh' sound to it, the mouth slightly closing on the exit. Eyebrows raised. A little more aggressive, users may have already tried out The Puff. The daring skip straight to the Huff.
But the glory of the sighs is THE GRUFF. A growl may be interspersed with the common Huff - or a GEEZ or a GALL or even a COME OOOOOON. Eyes roll. Feet tap. Foreheads are held. People are embarrassed.
I do not like sighs.
To me, it's a cowardly way to voice frustration. It's patronizing. It's belittling. And it's tricky - there's no clear evasive measure or way to fight back. You can't exactly start a brawl over it. "Well, he started it, officer, he SIGHED at me." Won't hold up in court.
The sigh is meant to advertise displeasure. The sigher is impatient, frustrated, angry. Yet it is not a true communication tool because there is not a clear reciprocal action. You can merely sigh BACK.
In my experience sighers are rarely defensive vocally. You might turn and sweetly inquire, "is something the matter?" And the answer is almost always, "Oh, no, not at all."
PUFF PUFF GRUUUUUUUUUUUUFF. It's no wonder Umbridge sighed all over the place.