Is This You?: A small gesture with big rewards

There are too many types of art in the world to discuss in this space. So I have chosen one that we can all claim we are artistic at: Waving. Yes, waving is an art.

A lot of painting, sculpting, dancing can be a bit highbrow. For us regular folks, we can and should lay claim to the art of waving. I may not be a painter, sculptor or dancer, but I can stand up and be counted, uh waved at, as one fine wave-er.

There is the hand flinging back and forth like there is no tomorrow wave. That wave looks kind of like you are shooing away a fly. Or the bye bye wave of wagging your hand up and down at the wrist. I see grandparents do that one as the family drives away going home with tummies full of Thanksgiving turkey. Yum.

The all-important thank you wave you are expected to give if someone lets you sneak into line if you are waiting to exit a parking lot and the traffic looks as though you will be in the parking lot until you’re old and grey. That wave is a warm one hand over the shoulder movement that if the weather permits should be done while holding your arm out the window.

I myself have four favorite waves I use while driving. There is the open handed right handed right to left wave, like I am wiping a window. That one says, “Hi, I see ya have a great day, and I think I know who you are.” Then I have a left handed wave that is more of a friendly half open monster like wave. Looks like when you are playing monster with your cat. It says, “Hi! Glad to see ya. I know who you are and like seeing you out and about.” I also do the one where you raise the top half of your hand off the steering wheel and wave as you meet a car. It says, “Hi! Glad you’re on your own side of the road, I hope your drive safely and I’m pretty sure I don’t know who you are but hi anyway.” Fourth is my wave and wiggle of my fingers. This is my most used wave. It says in my own Trina voice, “Howdy doody tootie frutie. I see you, I know you, I like you and I hope your day is super.”

The coolest wave I ever saw was waved at us while we were on a road trip on our Honda Goldwing motorcycle a long time ago when we were younger and could take trips without a van full of support equipment that we seem to need now! We were on a wonderfully scenic Northern California road through the Redwood Forest with the smells of wet pine and the ocean in the air… (Wish I were there and you were there too!) Traveling along gaping at the trees we crossed paths with a lone biker going in the opposite direction. He passed by and oh so casually he holds his leather gloved left hand low and gives the peace sign with a slow flick up and down. Like he didn’t have a care in the world. It was immediately adopted by yours truly and used through the rest of our biking trips. How long has it been since you flipped the peace sign? Maybe that one gesture would make the world calmer. Hey it could happen! Moving along…

It drives my husband nuts that I wave at nearly every car or truck we meet on the road. But truckers and traveling salesmen have families waiting for them to come home. So I wave. It’s not like we are alone out there on the road. But I avoid the head nod wave. I can’t get any warmth to it let alone get enough time to nod and get nodded back at! But some cowboys do this wave very smoothly. I think it’s the hat.

Recently my sister-in-law waved at a couple that passed her on the interstate. A few miles up the road she stopped between Elko and Battle Mountain to help that couple whose truck with a load of hay on the back had caught on fire. She didn’t hesitate to stop and help. That is who she and I are. I would have stopped too. Anyway, turns out this couple lived in California, were hauling hay from their farm in Idaho, and the man’s parents were neighbors of ours in Eureka in the 1980s. I worked with his mom on the election board for years and years. Quite coincidental.

So see waving makes the world small enough that we can all be friends. A small gesture with big rewards. I’m waving good bye right now!

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at


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