Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Jeep Wave

In 2004 I became a Jeep Wrangler owner when I bought my 2002 on eBay. Before that, I had owned a 96 Cherokee that I’d gotten brand new when I graduated college. But the Wrangler was different. For one, it was smaller. Getting into parking spaces on the street was a lot easier. The next major difference was the ability to take the roof off the car and drive with the top down and the doors off.

But the biggest difference, whether the roof is on or off, is the wave. Jeep Wrangler owners wave at each other when passing on the street. I first noticed it the first time I drove my Wrangler to work, the day after I brought it home from the car auction place in Wallingford, Connecticut. Puzzled, I kept driving. Then it happened again and again until I caught on.

I shared a secret connection with all other Wrangler drivers in America. I began to wave at other Wrangler owners, and a few of them flashed the peace sign back to me. I tried the peace sign for a few days, but it felt contrived, so I stuck with the half wave while holding the wheel.

I’ve had my Wrangler for five years now, and the Jeep wave still makes me smile when I receive one. In a world where so many people are focused on their own lives, every so often a stranger in another car, trying to get to where ever it is they’re going, waves hello to me. I interrupt my train of thought as I am on my way to where ever it is that I am going and I wave back. It’s a just a tiny spot of friendliness in my day that often interrupts a bad mood I might be in, and I hope it does the same for someone else.

These last few days I haven’t been driving the Jeep, in the wake of getting rear ended on Friday night. I’ve been driving our pickup truck to work, a bright red Ford F150 with a cap on the bed that I’ve nicknamed “The Meat Wagon.” But I still wave to other Jeep owners, out of habit, as I drive to and from work. And now they don’t wave back.



Anonymous Taoist Biker said...

Motorcyclists are the same way. Most motorcyclists will wave at each other (although sometimes cruiser/sportbikers don't wave at the other, which is stupid).

Now that I'm bikeless, I find myself wanting to wave at the bikes even when they really wouldn't understand or wave back.

October 1, 2009 at 7:33 AM  

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