The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Perfecting My Country Wave

on June 17, 2013

waveNow that we’ve been on the farm for three months I have found myself falling back into and enjoying some of my forgotten “country habits”.  I find myself waking up to the sound of birds outside my window rather than garbage trucks. I didn’t even know I missed that. I once again sort my trash….okay…I didn’t really miss that.  I have need of a “mud room” now – no sidewalks.  I have even found myself liking one of the farm kittens recently added to our domain. (My husband is concerned that I’ve hit my head.) Yep….my farm roots are starting to poke out again.  For the most part it has been lots of fun rediscovering some of the things I forgot about.  One of my favorite things that I have found myself reclaiming is the “Country Wave.”

If you’ve ever driven down a gravel road in rural America you know what I’m talking about.  It’s the friendly gesture exchanged between drivers as they pass on the road.  Fortunately on most gravel roads you don’t pass a whole lot of people so you don’t wear yourself out waving.  Unfortunately, for the same reason,  you don’t get a lot of practice perfecting your wave.  That may sound silly until you understand the fact that there are different approaches to the country wave.  It isn’t easy to decide which one fits you best.  I’ll give you some examples:

  • The One Finger Wave.  Now don’t confuse this with the one finger wave you get on the interstate.   This is the wave that requires extending your index finger upward while passing another car.  Kind of a “I see you” sort of gesture.  It says, “Yo!” Simple. Concise. Doesn’t require much effort.  Seems kind of unfriendly to me but is a step above no wave at all.
  • The Hand Flash.  This is extending all of your fingers upward while keeping your palm on the steering wheel.  It’s a step above the one finger wave (10 steps above the interstate one finger wave).   The down side is that unless you drive with your hand on the top of the steering wheel (making all 10 and 2 driving instructors crazy) it is hard to execute.  Thankfully I never liked my driver’s training instructor much. (No – not you dad.  The one from school.)  This wave is friendlier. It say’s “Hey!”   If you are feeling more friendly than that you can execute…
  • The Finger Flick. This takes the wave from above but adds a little flick of the wrist to simulate a wave.  It sort of says, “Hey There!” rather than simply “Hey”.  If you are in a really good mood you can try…
  • The Finger Wiggle. This is when one takes the above wave and adds a ripple of the fingers. A “wave” of your fingers if you will. (Okay. That was bad.  I know that.)  The art of this wave is you still don’t take your hand off of the wheel, which is good advice on a gravel road.  This wave says, “Hey. Have a good day!”  Slightly friendlier than above without risking your life on loose gravel.  There are some who are brave though and might pull off…
  • The Salute.  Seriously. A salute.  I pass one older gentleman every day who gives me a formal salute.  I figure he is formal military.  Or he thinks it’s respectful. I am not brave enough to try it for a couple of reasons: 1 – I’m afraid I’ll salute wrong (never been in the military) and 2 – I like both hands on the wheel. (That was for you dad.) Also on my “no-no” list would be…
  • The real wave.  It is just that.  A wave. It says, “Hi. I’m insane enough to risk losing control of my car to wish you a good day.”  Those people make me a little nervous when I pass them.  Particularly in a “bend” in the road. I prefer going by people in full control when rounding a curve.  Just saying.

These are just the most common of the country waves around our area. There are of course many variations and twists to the classics.  It all is quite overwhelming when you have to sit down and figure out which gesture fits you best. (Assuming of course that you’ve already ruled out the one finger interstate wave.) Not a task to take lightly.  I don’t want to seem to unfriendly but then again I don’t want to wind up in the ditch.  After several months of thoughtful consideration and practice I finally have concluded that the finger wiggle fits me the best.  Just friendly enough to express myself without running the risk of hitting a rough patch of loose gravel without both hands on the wheel. Yep.  That’s me.  Simple and friendly with a dash of safety.  I’ve spent the last week or so expressing my friendliness with the finger wiggle and feeling my country roots growing.  It is fun to watch for the wave back. The one finger people (I’m still talking about the gravel road remember.  I don’t enjoy the interstate ones. Jerks!) the finger flickers and my saluting friends.  Some people don’t wave back.  I assume they must be “city-folk” cutting through and they don’t know the “rules.”  “Country-folk” are friendly after all and I am evidently becoming one of them.  I must be.  The other day I saw a car approaching and noticed the driver was giving me a full-armed-fingers-wiggling wave.  “Wow!” I thought, “I must be fitting in.  I must look like a friendly local person.”  For a moment I felt like I am finally where I belong.

Then I realized it was my brother….



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