You Deserve The Wave Today

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I like The Wave.  I want The Wave.  I want to kick the person’s butt who denies me The Wave.  Do you know of what I speak?   I am not talking about that thing in the sports stadiums that makes you get off your behind, flail your arms like a Muppet on crack, and spill stuff.  I am talking about that little acknowledgement you get from a fellow driver on the road.  The simple hand gesture that can say “please”, “thank you” or just “I acknowledge you exist”.  The Wave.

Never gave it much thought?  Well, neither did I.  That is, until The Wave was gone. (Feel free to hum a few bars of “Don’t know what ya got, ‘til its gone”, I did)…

Even during my 10 years in LA, where driving is sometimes like something out of a Mad Max movie (only without Tina Turner riding shotgun), you can still get The Wave – and I don’t mean the one where the middle finger is prominent (although, that one is generously given as well). I am talking about a true and significant appreciation Wave, enough, at least, to feel satisfied.

But then, I moved to New Orleans.  Now (disclaimer coming), New Orleans is a great city, with many wonderful attributes and people – boy, do they know how to throw a party. However, when it comes to The Wave, they are a big, fat void.  In my 5 years living there, no matter how hard I tried, begged, frantically waved, offered beads and occasionally even a boob flash (ok, not that one) I could never illicit a return or acknowledgement Wave in any way, shape or form.  And, I missed The Wave, desperately.

However, our next big move was to the Mid-West.  And, much to my pleasant surprise, Mid-Westians (Mid-Westers?) really know how to work The Wave.  You know how the Eskimos have 100+ words to express “snow” related things?  Well, that is how prolific Mid-Westians are with The Wave.  I kid you not (‘cause that would be so unlike me).  Here are just a few that come to mind:

The “Thank You” Wave.

The “No problem” Wave.

The “Go ahead, I’m in no hurry” Wave.

The “Sorry I did not see you there” Wave.

The “That’s Ok” Wave

The “Thanks for not honking at me even though I deserve it” Wave.

The “Sorry to make you wait while I cleaned up the juice my kid just spilled” Wave. (followed by…)

The “I can see that you are stressed and I won’t make it worse by honking at you” Wave.

The “We are just two cars passing on a country road” Wave.

The “I’m cool” Head-Wave.

The “I’m even cooler” Chin-Lift Wave.

The “I don’t want to take my hands off the wheel but want to greet you” Finger-Lift Wave.

The “You are welcome to pass my slow farm vehicle” Wave.

The “I’m sorry I was just a dork for cutting you off/getting in your way” Wave.

I possibly overuse this wave and therefore often receive back…

The “Never mind, it is ok that you are a dork” Wave.

The “Hello fellow truck owner” Wave (hubbys favorite)

The “I won’t smile at you but will still acknowledge you exist” Wave (my visiting Mom’s Fave).

And the truly unique, from my elderly pedestrian neighbor…

The “I am too involved in what I am doing to look up at you but here is my hand” Wave.

To which I always respond with…

The “I know you can’t see it but I will reciprocate anyway” Wave.

I love them all. Who knew such a small thing could speak volumes when silenced.  There are many things in life I can definitely live without – coffee  a 2nd cup of coffee,  an ab six-pack, shoulder pads, another social network, Journey to the Center of the Earth Part 3. 

But The Wave?  No, I know now, I need The Wave.

In fact, I deserve The Wave.

And so do you.

So, if you are ever out Mid-West way, look for me.  I’ll be the one giving you

The “Nice to see you ‘round these parts” Wave.

339 responses

  1. I live in Wisconsin and the Wave is pretty prolific here. I have to admit that I’m not a big Wave-er, but I’m getting better. I just forget or feel silly or something.
    I’ll let you in on a secret- drive a Jeep Wrangler. We all wave to each other. Or, used to, come to think of it, that’s disappearing a bit too!

  2. not much waving going on in the northeast. i wave “thanks” when someone lets me in traffic-wise, but…i don’t think the northeast is nearly as friendly was the midwest…

  3. Thanks for mentioning my favorite wave. I often tell my California friends about the “no smile wave”. At least you know that you were noticed. Now if we can just get a little grin too, it would be perfect!

  4. Haha!! All of these waves are cracking me up! Love the fellow truck owner wave. We all DO deserve the wave!

  5. We are not in the midwest but we have many of those waves around here too. My father is a pro at the “i’m way to cool to move my head or acknowledge you with my face but i’ll lift one finger off the wheel as we pass” . you forgot the global “for christ’s sake, would you just get going?” wave. waving at you from finding the funny.

  6. As a life-long-mid-westerner I know the wave and/or waves! The wave is a part of our daily existence. Cut off our hands and we can not communicate. That would be too sad.

  7. Surprisingly, NorCal has a pretty good amount of the Wave. I like seeing it when letting people in even when I’m seething at their idiocy. It makes me feel a little better. I also try to do the wave as much as possible. :) That is sad that New Orleans is completely void of it.

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  8. You’ve been Fresh Pressed… and for some reason the WordPress staff dug over a month back in time to do it!

    Anyhow… New Orleans… it’s New Orleans. I’m not surprised. Now, were you to be a bit outside of that city and you’d probably have gotten a wave, though more likely two fingers lifted off the steering wheel.

    I live in the midwest. I don’t see many waves, though I also live in the burbs. Country folk seem a bit friendlier in general.

  9. Look the wave is good and you are so right. Its a bit of a lost courtesy in today’s world. I try and make a point of giving the thank you wave in traffic.

    And then I have my other days…

    I have to confess that this morning my wave came with a swear word, or was it a string of them, to the impatient driver who careered out of a driveway and almost cleaned me up. I gave her a wave whilst swearing furiously and comparing her to a well known farmyard animal. I know its not very grown up of me but it was quite satisfying at the same time!

  10. That is absolutely hilarious–and highly original! You know, you could write a humor book with each type of wave on each page, with a cartoon illustration! Seriously! I once had two books like that, “The Fart Book” and “The Shit List”, and they were very popular!

  11. I don’t know if I agree with “not much waving going on in the Northeast..” we wave in Maine…especially on the islands, where there aren’t that many cars or people…figure we must know the people or soon will! Great post! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  12. ‘The Wave’ doesn’t exist in India…or if it does, it is hardly seen. I have tried the wave to thank cars moving out of the way, or to let the pedestrians walk by, but it usually has no effect. Either they don’t understand the ‘wave’ language or maybe I’ve got it all wrong!
    Anyways, will keep waving!

  13. I am from the UK where we also have the waves you describe so inventively! I have noticed in the last few years though that some drivers have been using the “wink” (brief flashing of hazard lights) interchangeably with the wave..an interesting development. This is particularly useful on the motorway/highway. Do you have that out in the mid-West?
    Thanks for this cheery and observant post! *waves*

    • Yes! It is common to flash your lights at big semi trucks to let them know they can move into your lane and then for them to flash lights back as a thank you – or visa versa.

  14. I love the different waves and know many of them to be true. I live near Lake Erie in Ontario, and have visited Pelee Island, where all the residents on the island wave at whoever passes by. I think this is so charming, but I do fear for their safety sometimes–as they wave no matter what.

  15. The best part I liked about this post is the middle finger thing… hahaha!

  16. Yeah, I like The Wave too. Thanks for sharing.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  17. The wave is alive and well in New England too, was quite surprised to hear that there’s anywhere it doesn’t exist. The only time I haven’t gotten one it’s safe to assume the other driver is some sort of Scrooge or they’re *grrr* on a cellphone and just too oblivious to be on the road at all.

  18. What about “the awkward I’m not sure if I’m supposed to wave so I’m reluctantly committing to this” Wave?

  19. I lived down in Roanoke Virginia during my college years, and they are masters of the wave down there. I love the finger lift on gravel country roads. I brought the wave back to Baltimore, Maryland–couldn’t conceive of life without it, and some people actually wave back. Here on the East Coast we have the “You are a pedestrian and therefore have the right of way but hurry up before I change my mind” wave. It’s reassuring knowing that you won’t be hit by a car when you cross the street.

  20. People should wave more. The Dutch aren’t much of a waver, but despite that, I’m going to wave more.

  21. True, there’s not much waving going on in the Northeast, but in my particular town we are big wavers, and I try to be especially generous with my wave, especially the “go ahead, I’m in no hurry” wave.

  22. Loved this post! I’m in Canada – East Coast specifically and we are all about the wave! If you ever see two people waving frantically at each other with big smiles on their faces, they just might be Canadians. We get really excited when we see a familiar license plate, and of course we send along a great “fancy running into you in this foreign land, isn’t it exotic?!” Wave :)

  23. Giving a smile to those you encounter is much the same. Some can reciprocate, others don’t. Just keep doing it. The world needs the wave and a big smile too.

  24. Oh, and to think I “liked” back before you were PRESSED! Congrats and HOW FUN! My elbow hurts from waving in North Carolina. I am from Michigan…not the nice part…and you stood a better chance of getting the middle finger.

  25. they’re not called amber waves for nothing….

    Being a midwesterner my entire life, my favorite wave is the:
    “I’m really frustrated that everyone is yielding in this four-way stop but please YOU go first” wave.

  26. Personally, I love the wave! HUGE fan – I use it ALL the time even though I never get it back! Which, you’d think since the south has the whole “southern hospitality” rep that we’d be big wavers, but not where I am! I knew I always wanted to live in the mid-west for a good reason!! :)

  27. Never been to the midwest but I lived in the south plenty. Some wave, some will chase you down like a dog, some will give you the finger, some will just ignore. I have been to New Orleans once but don’t remember much about the traffic. I remember getting lost in the 9th ward pre-katrina though…

  28. Mid-Westians–ha! I love it! I have recently returned to the Midwest after a long absence and it has taken me some time to get used to the wave. I had forgotten such overt displays of friendliness. My time in Ohio beat it out of me. :)

  29. Midwestern girl here…we even wave when passing each other in the hallway at work. It’s a low, not-lifting-my-arm wave. Kinda like a secret wave. And we have one guy who is awesome with his head-nod waves. Just makes ya smile!

  30. We moved from central California to rural south-west Montana about 6 years ago. I’ll never forget driving around Madison County in a pickup with our realtor, searching for the perfect piece of property (land on a river or a log house with a creek and trees around it) on which to retire. I thought our realtor must know every single person in the state, because he waved at all the passing vehicles. It was that, “I don’t wanna take my hands off the steering wheel, but I’ll lift my fingers” kind of wave. After one such wave – reciprocated by the old fellow we passed, I asked him, “Who was that?” He said, “I don’t know.” So I asked him, “Why’d ya wave?” And he simply replied, “That’s what we do!” Yup, it is! I’m with you, I NEED – yes, I DESERVE the wave. I love it! I’ll be lookin’ for ya, Sweetspot!!

  31. Hahaha I am from Chicago, and I must say, you’re spot on. I will wait expectantly for a wave when I let someone into heavy traffic, and I will complain to whoever’s in the car if that wave doesn’t come. A particular favorite midwestern wave is when a driver waves across a pedestrian, coupled with the mouthing of the words: “Go ahead!” It’s like at the public pool when you waited atop the slide, and the lifeguard told you it was your turn. Great post, and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  32. Body language/non-verbal communication is a bit of pet interest of mine; I don’t I’ve come across any references in the literature that are quite so amusingly break down the different kinds of driver waves. Great fun; thanks for the cool read.

  33. I live in England, in the North of England you will get yourself a lot of lovely waves, but down South you certainly won’t get that luxury. I am a cyclist and most of the waves I get are the “you’re lucky it’s raining out there otherwise you’d have a broken nose by now” clenched fist waves.
    PS nice blog post….

  34. Haha…I get the “I’m Even Cooler Chin-Lift Wave” a lot in Orange County, CA! I’m sending you the “Thank You” wave for creating such a fun post! :)

  35. Good post! I am from the Midwest where people do actually wave and I love it. I get even more annoyed though when people don’t return “the smile”. Especially in the office where I work everyday. I mean, how hard is it to smile back at someone? You’re going to see them again tomorrow! Jeeze. And isn’t there a saying about it taking less muscles to smile then it does to frown? Duh!

  36. I know what you mean. I’m from the panhandle of TX and the wave is normal up there. So much so, that if you don’t wave they know your an out-of-towner. :) I’m in the DFW area now and there is no longer any evidence of the wave. It’s a very sad thing. :( Enjoyed your post. :)

  37. I always do the wave and the head nod and the mouthing thank you … just what you should be doing to give that little bit of love

  38. Hilarious, and pretty true I’d say! I live in the Canadian prairies which from what I understand are fairly similar (although not entirely) to the US midwest. In the bigger cities the wave is not generally practiced, mostly likely because people are paranoid and distrustful and I would imagine this is a good explanation for why the wave is declining elsewhere, however out in the country if you don’t wave to everyone as you pass them in your vehicles, when you see them in “town”, etc. you might as well be some sort of serial killer because in the smaller rural communities the wave is king ;)

  39. GREAT POST. CONGRATS ON BEING FP!
    I grew up in rural IA where the wave was a necessity. Now in Chicago, I still get it on some occasions. But I try to frequently offer it if the situation dictates it. Thanks for your fun post.

  40. You are forgetting the best wave of all – The Jeep Wave!! It is a very intimate wave, a sign of mutual understanding. I am pretty sure there might be historical data to imply that this is actually where the wave originated…

  41. You should come to Canada. We’re wave level: Ninja, up here! I can’t believe how thorough your list was…and hilarious. Nice post.

  42. We visited The States for a year when I was a kid (back in the early 80′s) and I remember driving through Woodward OK, and being AMAZED at the fact that the elderly gent that we were with, who was behind the wheel just kept his hand on top of the steering -wheel in a constant ‘state of wave’ as were all the other drives in the town. An abiding memory that helps me wave more! Lovely post.

  43. It is true. And when a stranger gives even a smile it refreshes the mood. Once after being rejected in a job interview I came back sullen and a little girl of 7 greeted me “Hello Uncle”. It made me smile and made me forget the pain. I am just 22 but only I did is smiled and greeted her back. Small things can do miracles. A Wave(Samsung Wave even :-P), a smile, a chocolate given away to a kid whom you don’t know but you know you can’t see him crying. The Art of Giving gives us back the most dulcet moments of our life!

  44. I am not good with smileys so I couldn’t wave back in the end. But I can make the most basic one :-) and will write WAVE for a wave. Hope you get myriads of happiness waves in your life. TATA!

  45. Nice post! Spot on. Although I can’t wave, so don’t expect any from me. Usually I buzz at people. That’s my way of showing acknowledgement.

  46. Being acknowledged by drivers or pedestrians is always a nice thing. In my country, we beep our horns as well as do the wave. Hope that you can start that wave going soon!

  47. I am a BIG fan of the wave (in the UK) and will often wave very enthusiastically if I see anyone waving near me, even if not at me. May I also suggest the clap as an addition – especially in the context of dance moves…

  48. As a cyclist and pedestrian, my usual wave is the “thanks for letting me cross the street” wave (in answer to the “go on, cross” wave).
    On the rare occasions when I do drive, I’m concentrating too hard on driving to remember to wave, even though my mother kept reminding me to wave.

  49. LookingForTheSweetSpot, I am Waving at You with My Both Hands, with Much Success in Everything You Do kind of Wave! Aloha from NY!

  50. That was a phenomenal post. Now I’m going to have to see how many different types of Waves I get here in Pittsburgh. I can think of the following:

    “Go ahead in front of me” wave
    “Thanks for letting me in front” wave
    “Hey I’m going to cut in front of you from this exit and I appreciate you slamming on your brakes rather than hitting me” wave
    “I’m going to wave a couple of times because I’m unsure if I just did you wrong” wave

    As you can see, they’re not so much friendly at times but still appreciated haha.

  51. Gotta love the Midwest! My favorite thing about driving there when I went to college in a small town was the Four-Way-Stop-Dilemma. In case you haven’t encountered it, the FWSD occurrs when two or more cars pull up to an intersection. Because they are all Midwesterners, no one wants to be “rude” enough to go first, so they all wave to each other, “after you” “no, after you” “no, no, after you”. They can be stuck there forever that way….
    A similar phenomenon can be seen at the Midwestern pot-luck. No on wants to take the last piece of something, so they take half of the last piece. The next person takes half of that. And the person after that takes half of that, until eventually the remaining crumb is too small to be seen.
    Sometimes that kind of hyper-politeness would get on my nerves, but I miss it since moving to the East Coast.

  52. I’m kinda surprised that you didn’t get the wave in the Big Easy, since that’s about as Deep South as you can get. That said, I have seen only four waves where the central finger was not advanced.
    There’s the “Go ahead, you got here first” wave, which usually comes before
    the “Thanks for letting me go first”
    the “Hey, I see your turn signal in traffic and I give you my blessing to get in front of me” wave, which precedes the
    “Hey, thanks for letting me cut in” wave.
    Thanks for waving, so I’ll wave back :)

  53. i really enjoyed this well written post. It’s very clever. The weather is pretty warm now, and I’ve been thinking about buying a motorcycle. There is one very big reason–the biker wave! You won’t get one if you’re driving a car (cage). You only get one (a wave) if you’re riding a motorcycle and you meet another biker going the opposite direction. Harley riders usually take their left hand off the handlebars and extend their hand downward with two fingers out. It is very important that you have two fingers outward and not one–LOL! The biker wave is a little perk that is not normally extended to people driving an automobile. I’m ready to plunk down $13,000 for a small Harley so that I can be treated to the biker wave–ha! Who says you can’t buy happiness?

  54. The title grabbed me because I love the wave. I have been in NC for 30 yrs- the wave lives . I spent 25 yrs further out in the country where everyone that went by waved. Now around town I get a wave or a head nod frequently. Wave more- text less while driving.

  55. You’ve made me glad today that I live in the Midwest…and I think it’s time to bring back the shoulder pads. I’m missing them.

  56. I’m from the suburbs of NY–people wave a lot around where I’m from (not NYC mind you). But then I moved to Madrid, Spain for 2 years and I used to wave at cars for letting me cross streets–being the polite pedestrian expressing my gratitude. It turns out nobody waves to cars that stop for you here haha–cars are much better at stopping at crosswalks than in the US and it is expected. Therefore no need to wave for something drivers should be doing! There are so many differences between American and Spanish society–the no wave thing is just one of them.

  57. Hey SweetSpot ~ Just found your Blog. And, BOYHOWDY!, am I ever happy I did. “The Wave” is terrific. You’ve got a great knack for painting a picture. Really fun! Off to read more of your stuff. Cheers!

  58. I’m in the L.A. area and I appreciate the wave- I get totally irked when I don’t get the same respect. lol

  59. As a lifelong Midwestian, I’m very impressed by your complete and accurate description of our waves! Thanks for the laughs, and for reminding me of one of the nice things about living here.

  60. The Wave is almost extinct in Delaware. My neighbors don’t even do the “I see you walking a lot so I’ll wave” Wave. I then do the “I know you saw me so I’m going to smile really big and wave so that you have to wave back” Wave. I will single-handedly (so to speak) bring the wave back to Delaware. ;) Thanks for a great post!

  61. What a lovely post. I love to give a wave and receive a wave. It is a great way to acknowledge people and also especially in the driving world a sing of appreciation. Basically a wave makes me feel good. Here in Melbourne the wave is still a happening thing, but thanks to your post I am a little more appreciative of it.

  62. I grew up in Northern VA where only the snobby survive, I now reside in a town in WVA and I am so happy to be here :) small country the way I like it :) cjmurray34.wordpress.com

  63. Hi! Even though NJ is a little State, we couldn’t be more different from our Northern fellow Jersians. I live in South Jersey and the drivers are much more polite and give you lots of “thank you” waves or “go ahead, make your turn” wave. Up North, they just love to honk their horns at you. Great blog!

      • But there are days when I do get honked at, but as I drive I just honk back! There is a bit of a unspoken rule of how long and hard you honk at someone down here even. A quick honk is considered “polite, but impatient” and a “long and annoying’ honk means the person behind you is very, very upset! And if they continue to honk at you as they still are driving behind you (I’ve seen this), it just means they are psycho!!

  64. Man, this is so great. It is just so cute everything about it. An entertaining read, good job!

  65. Bus drivers where I’m from wave to each other all the time, even little kids playing in the street come out to wave at passengers on the bus, it’s nice just to get that little wave. I like what you’ve written, I found all the different types of waves very funny, I didn’t realize how much could be said with a wave.

  66. Things called waves don’t exist in my country at all. But i usually do it when i’m on my bike. I usually do the “thanks you are awesome” thumbs up to drivers of big slow trucks or buses when they make way to let me over take them.

  67. I really miss the “wave” too. Used to get it all the time back when I was younger, but it seems that it’s a language long forgotten as people grow up. I still wave at people with those aforementioned waves above, regardless if I get them back. Occasionally, I do get replies… but they’re rare. I hope that more people pick up the “wave”.
    Groovy post~

  68. I live in Wisconsin and I can fully agree with all of your different Midwest waves. I have seen/done/received every single one. Around my town, there’s also the “Oh hey you’re walking a dog but I’m in a car so sorry I can’t stop and chat” wave. Great post!

  69. Here’s one for u – the “Hey, just dropped by and saying hi” Wave!! :) Congratulations on being FP!

  70. Gosh! I totally agree with you, i love the wave :) You write amazing!

  71. I really enjoyed that. Now I’m giving you the ” I know you can’t see me but congrats on making it on Freshly Pressed” wave.

  72. This is so great! I’m from the Midwest and live in LA and I miss all our waves! :) btw the way to refer to someone from the Midwest is to call them a “Midwesterner”.

  73. Ok, as an Australian, nay a Queenslander, here we are ALL about the Wave. There are way too many people who deny born and breds like myself of the Wave. People who are migrating into Queensland for our lifestyle and yet, refusing to acknowledge one of the key traits of being a QLDer. You can not move here and not adopt our ways.

    I have to share also, that I used to own a VW Beetle and there was a special wave given to your fellow Beetle drivers. That used to be a special wave. :-)

  74. Congrats on being freshly pressed! Quite a roller coaster ride, isn’t it? (I got it a few weeks ago). Just mentally prepare yourself for the heroin-like withdrawals you will experience next week when your numbers go back to normal. ;) I’m thinking about starting a support group to help ease people down from off their freshly pressed high and back into normal blog society.

    As for the wave, I’m also a really big fan, and feel slighted when someone doesn’t use it with me. Here’s a NY version I’d like to toss into the mix….

    The sarcastic wave – because the other person did something really stupid, but I’m going to wave anyway and while I’m doing it, I’m going to mumble a slew of expletives and insults without moving my lips.

  75. So glad to know that you found wave heaven in the mid-west! Here in central Virginia, the wave is fairly rare, yet more often out in the country. In town, it usually involves the middle finger! I presume that both hands are used for texting! When will the US outlaw the use of cell phones while driving! This should be right up there with the drinking/driving alcohol ban. Congrats on FP! ;-)

  76. Oooooo, a catalogue of different waves. I’d hate to write them down, get charged with plagiarism, then get the “See ya’ later–now you’re going to jail” wave.

  77. I moved to Colorado from Wisconsin and know what you are talking about. It is regional although it is a melting pot here and most acknowledge my wave.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  78. There is only one part of this post I disagree with: I do need my 2nd cup of coffee ;-)

  79. Haha! I do not drive but this made me smile! I think this is the most widely used here in the Philippines, “The “I don’t want to take my hands off the wheel but want to greet you” Finger-Lift Wave.”

    I enjoyed reading this post (seriously!) Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  80. lol one way and so many different meanings. Body language and gestures are really un-explainable sometimes…the wave = I’m good :D

  81. I live in the South now, and they are pretty big about the Wave here, too. At least in Knoxville, when you get into the more rural/residential parts, you find yourself being waved at all the time. I’ve caught the affinity for this cultural phenomenon and even brought it back up to NJ when I visited home. But, let me tell you, my Yankee kin are not so keen on the Wave.

  82. I live now in Toronto but was living in Vancouver before this. Vancouver, though few people know it, has no soul and people are by nature reserved and icy there. I was told once that in Vancouver, “you don’t wave, it makes you look ridiculous.” Needless to say I’m glad to be in a place where people are okay with the subtle gesture regardless of how they may come across. Thanks for posting!

  83. I LOVE your post! You have such a charming and beautiful way of writing about the wave, which, I agree, is so, so needed!

    I live in Texas and I always wave when someone lets me in in from a merge lane, or when someone just lets me in line, but that’s the only wave I know of haha. I always get weird looks from other drivers when I give them the “Thank You” wave, and I don’t think I’ve ever received one in return, but I continue to give it because it’s polite darn it! :P I remember one of the only times I got a thank you wave for letting someone in it literally made my day. It was from a very sweet looking Southern Gentleman, and his wave was very…gentlemanly. haha, I can’t think of how else to describe it.

    The wave is necessary! I’m sure it would reduce road rage by at least 97% if we all participated in the wave game. Especially if our waves conveyed such elaborate emotions as the ones you’ve listed :P

  84. The South is big on waving, too. I wasn’t a big waver when I first moved here, but I’ve adopted it as part of being a good neighbor and a decent human being.

  85. … and if you’re a biker … it’s the 2-fingered-arm-extended-at-an-angle-to-your-side wave to a passing biker. How cool you feel about yourself (and your bike) determines if the angle is at 20, 30, or 45 degrees from the side of your bike. Welcome to the friendly Mid-West!

  86. Ahh, The Wave. Thank you for your lovely post. It’s bringing me back to my teenage years out in the country, in the Ottawa Valley, Canada. There everyone waved to each other as they passed on country roads. It was the ” you live here in the valley too, eh?” wave. Loved it.

  87. Loved this!!! I don’t live in the midwest. I live in Oklahoma and most of these waves you mentioned are common here. We have waves for everything. Loved this.

  88. such a warming post and so true! the wave is for sure underutilized in most places which is a shame because it’s such a great thing that is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face

  89. I feel the exact same way when you go out of your way to hold a door for someone and they don’t even acknowledge you. Like I’m there personal door opener or something, I always want to yell “YOU’RE WELCOME!!!!” jerks!

    Nice post =)

  90. Cute! I feel sad that you live in a place with no wave! I am familiar with, and participate in, many of the above mentioned waves, and I’ve never lived in the mid-west. So I promise they exist elsewhere! That being said….I may be moving to the midwest in about a year, so maybe I should start brushing up on some new ones! ;)

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  92. Lovely,sweet,funny post…I agree with everything you said! I think the real essence of the driver wave is really just about acknowledging each others humanity. It’s really saying ‘hey you,how’s it going? We’re all in this thing together (life!) so just know,you’re not alone.’ I live in Ireland and we do the driver wave a lot here,but I still feel mortified when I wave and don’t receive a wave back. So,for that reason,I’ve ‘invented’-or thought I had until now!!-the finger ‘wave.’ It goes like this…when driving past cool people whom I believe probably don’t even realise I exist,raise a finger from the steering wheel as nonchalently as possible. Accompany this with a kind of half nod of the head,and a weird head turn,and the manouvere is complete. This method-or so I’ve assured myself!- means that I don’t appear to be a sad loser when caught waving at those-who-will-never-in-a-million-years-wave-back-even-if-I-waved-a-white-blanket-in-front-of-their-windscreens-with-the-words-’WAVE AT ME PLEAAASSSSSEEEEEE!’-written-with-BLACK-PAINT-on-it……..!!!!!!! The finger wave and the weird head thingy means that I could actually just be beating to the rhythm of some cool tunes on the cd player…..

  93. Awesome. Love this. I lived in mid-west and now in New England — and I miss each and every one of those waves! Cheers — oh yeah, and a wave!

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  95. Love this. Born, raised, and still living in Ohio and I am proud to be a waver. I am sure in the coming days I will be analyzing all my waves. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  96. Love your post!

    Moved from Phoenix to Prescott which is a townish-like city and I love getting the wave. I noticed that I started doing the wave more frequently

  97. I just started using the “Thanks for not honking at me even though I deserve it” Wave and it seems to be working out well!

  98. Waves are important to the infrastructure of society! I am a runner and when I pass another runner I give a little “nice to see another runner wave.” or a “I am hurting right now but want to say hi” wave or even a “you a doing great” wave. Can you believe sometimes runners don’t even wave back!!???

  99. Not enough has been written about the wave. Now that I think of it, I can’t remember ever reading any sort of scholarly discourse on the wave!

  100. here’s a WAVE from the thumb of Michigan Loved your post and am here to tell you I try to wave but half the time I am too late as the person that passed by me is already gone.I guess I am a post waver.

  101. I love the wave. Even in the midwest, it seems that fewer people dole out “the wave.” Not waving is, frankly, quite rude.

  102. Oh, this is charmingly hilarious!
    I’m from the Eastern Cape in South Africa and we have very specific etiquette when overtaking – something I loved but didn’t realise I NEEDED until I moved to Johannesburg for a spell. Of course, now I live in Scotland and get to take the bus :)
    Great post, thanks for the big grin!

  103. I love this. Makes me remember how just plain old being nice to people still exists in some parts of the world. Drivers in Dubai definitely do NOT do the wave! Unless it’s the ‘yallah, get out of my way’ wave…in which case we are the experts ;-)