The Wave


From “Rants About Something Dumb”

I’m a confident driver. Just because I drive a minivan (which kills me, by the way) doesn’t mean I won’t be quick off the line or pass you on the highway. I take the roads seriously, too, because I like living. Unfortunately, minivan drivers get lumped into the Pussyfoot category, which can lead to assumptions and a li’l bit of roadway bullying. But see, a Pussyfoot I am not. I’m a confident, vigilant, quick-accelerating, blinker-using, blind-spot-checking, friendly driver. You can be all those things and be friendly, too.

Example: I wave.

If somebody (polite) wants in, I do my best to accommodate; and when someone lets me in, I wave. I wave every time, without exception. Why? Because I have freaking manners. It’s a non-verbal thank you in response to basic roadway civility. (I even still actually say “thank you” like they can hear me, but that’s because I’m a dork.)

Isn’t it amazing how a simple hand gesture can so dramatically alter the way one feels about a situation?

A little while back, I was driving along and approached a lane closure. Now, this is Florida. Florida is The State of Year-Round Construction, as well as Land of the Incompetent Driver. (Rather lousy combination.) So there is always either A) an aloof driver who is somehow caught off guard by the well-marked lane closure, or B) a driver being an obstinate jerk about it by zipping to the end of the lane and butting in. Always. No seriously, always. This was no different in that respect — I was subjected to option B that day — but what was different was how the bum-headed driver responded.

So he cut me off, this driver, leaving me with two alternatives: allow him in or crash. Awesome choices, thanks for that. Since I don’t like crashing, I backed off (although he had invaded my car bubble and I had to endure a moment or two uncomfortably close to his bumper). Then, as I eased back, I saw his arm appear in the space between the seats.

That could go only two ways.

He could have given me the one finger salute. People can get highly defensive when they know they’re in the wrong, and a profane hand gesture wouldn’t be entirely unexpected. Such a gesture only serves to incite the other driver, though, and now both drivers are agitated, probably huffing all the way to their destination…and an angry driver is a dangerous driver. So, one dumb-dumb move on the road followed by an offensive hand gesture and now you’ve got two angry, dangerous drivers raging through town.

(It calls to mind Bill Murray’s crazed character in the movie Groundhog Day: “Don’t drive angry…don’t drive angry!” Think about that the next time you’re driving angry, it helps.)

drive angry 2
Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day,” 1993

(Ohmyword that’s a funny movie. I don’t think that will ever not be funny.)

The driver didn’t flip me the bird, though.

He waved.

Immediately, with that simple wave of his hand, my irritation was diffused. And not only was I no longer angry, but I flashed my own palm back in friendly acknowledgement. He did something annoying, I grumbled, but then he waved his hand and *poof* all was well! The Wave can be downright magical.

So wave your hand, folks. It’s easy, just stick your hand up! Wiggle your fingers! Smile, even! Engage your fellow humans with this quick, simple gesture of courtesy and respect…acknowledge the humanity on the roadways.

We’re all just people.

Thanks for reading.

Deidre sig, transp bg

4 Comments

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  1. My dear friend: Thanks for sharing Deidre, your story is repeated often throughout the country and yes I remember probably more times in the great Sunshine State, where it usually rains every afternoon, there seems to be an abundance of idiots on the road.

    I agree that the open fist probably brings more forgiveness in an afternoon than the prayer of salvation does. “The Wave that Saves”, gracefully injects some real peace back into humanity and quickly cools some really volatile situations. I pray you have a great week Deidre, and that your writing be productive and your works bless many as they always do my life. Blessings my dearest friend. Baruch Hashem, Hamashia Yeshua, Baruch Adonia. Blessed be the name of the Lord, Deidre Owens. Chris 🙂

    PS. Another thought that came to me was forgiving others early. A wise pastor once told me just before I said ‘I do.” “(b)…let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Ephesians 4:26-32 King James Version • (KJV)

    26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath

    Yeah, that driver really irks me driving like that. But better I forgive that one now, than carry the hatred I feel in my heart right now all night.

    27 Neither give place to the devil.

    I have the right to wave them a one finger salute and tell them exactly what I think

    28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

    29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

    30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

    31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

    32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. I’m certain Deidra, that you too have found that life in general is much easier, both on our physical body, our digestive system which seems to suffer when we are at odds with anyone, and our little. Thanks again for the teaching and letting us see the humor in situations. Chris 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your comments and insights! It’s always good to fall back on scripture. We could certainly benefit from remembering such teachings on our daily commutes! Have a blessed day, friend.

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  2. Have you been to the UK yet? It’s all about being polite on the roads here. So much so that I get peeved if someone doesn’t raise their hand to say thanks when I give way to them! One little courtesy that you alluded to as well was the acknowledgment of the hand raised to say thanks. Out here, it’s almost as important to raise your hand to acknowledge their thanks (effectively a “you’re welcome”) as it is to say thanks in the first place.

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    1. I have not been to the UK yet, but that sounds very much like the Canadian Maritimes. I spent a number of years there and it was a completely opposite driving experience…the drivers there are infuriatingly nice!! “After you!” “Nono, after you.” “Please, I insist…” After growing up here, I found it kinda hard to complain!

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