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.