The Wave

One of my favorite activities is waving.  The simple act of gesturing a greeting to another person or persons gives me tremendous pleasure.  I love to wave at both friends and strangers. In fact it is almost more fun to wave at unsuspecting strangers and wonder if  having someone greet them made them happy for a moment.  The act of waving is rendered even more pleasurable by the intense mortification suffered by my children as I blithely and happily wave at any and all passersby.

Waving is great fun either on foot or in a car. It seems so friendly and welcoming to give someone a wave. There are all kinds of waves, of course, and many of them are situational. There are times and places where a workman-like tip of the hand is an appropriate and sufficient wave. There are other times when the right thing to do is to just cut lose with a big windshield-wiper type gesture. Of course there are some people in this world who are know to be expert wavers. Queen Elizabeth springs to mind immediately and I confess to modeling myself on her stately grace from time to time. Sometimes I like to practice waves so I can be sure that I will immediately come up with just the right motion for the moment.

 There is also a socioeconomic or anthropological aspect to waving. Return waving has both geographical and contextual connections. There are certain places where you can just pretty much bet you’ll get a friendly wave in return and there are other places where you could pretty much bet good money that all your wave will get in response is studious avoidance. I find that walking on the road where our house is in the country is sure-fire waving territory. We don’t have all that much traffic, but whether you know the people or not, they are bound to wave back even if it is just one of those cool hand flips from the steering wheel. Alternatively, the suburban town where we live in Westchester County is pretty arid waving territory. Wave responses seem to be keyed in reverse to the enthusiasm of the greeting. A big, happy wave can practically send shudders through a passing motorist. Even a judicious “hey” of a wave is most often greeted with eyes straight ahead.

Training for the walk has provided me with hours and hours of happy waving. During the course of a four, six or ten-mile walk, there are endless opportunities for greetings. There is the appreciative wave for those motorists, bikers, etc. who move comfortably over to leave plenty of room between their progress and my own. It is really nice to have some safety space and I like them to know I am appreciative. Waving is also a palliative for boredom. Let’s face it walking for hours gets pretty tiresome. Waving is something to think about, plan for and execute. It doesn’t slow me down or take me off track, but it gives me something to do with the top half of my body which is not integrally involved in walking.

So, there you have it. My thoughts on waving. Give it a try. I pretty much guarantee you’ll catch yourself smiling…and that isn’t a bad thing at all.


One Comment to “The Wave”

  1. Loved it, Jenny. I do similar greetings when I’m dog walking. Sanibelians consistently wave back. Clevelanders? Well, maybe it depends on how their day is going. I play the try-to-get-a-smile-out of people game, and I agree – it shortens a long walk. Keep up the good work 🙂


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