Worth It To Wave

text by Jonathan Ives

Every day I commute down a ten mile peninsula, from the town of Damariscotta to the small village of Pemaquid. Leaving at the same time each morning allows me to drive past many of the people I grew up with. The question I have each morning: who do I wave to?

My good friend’s father gets a wave because he talked to me in the grocery store last week.  My best friend’s uncle doesn’t get a wave because he’s too rich to look down at my small white Subaru from his large black Escalade. Oh, there’s my friend John from grade school; he gets a wave. There’s my old math teacher who made me feel stupid in high school; no wave. 

This all changes when I drive around in the company truck. It’s a large black Chevy with an iron wood rack and I feel like a real tradesman when I drive on the local roads. I find most other large trucks will give me a wave with the hand or a two finger raise. Some just extend their pointer finger or tilt their head back with a quick jerk. We must recognize our secret society of people who drive large pickup trucks.

I’m always happy when I drive a motorcycle and find that everyone else riding a bike will extend a stoic wave as we pass each other. As a young man in high school I used to drive a motor scooter around and, believe me, I never got a wave from anyone on a motorcycle.

My friend has an MG and she said there’s a special wave she does involving the headlights, a wave returned by others with MGs. Why is it so easy to recognize people who remind us of ourselves? The great thing about waving at a mirror is that the other person always returns the gesture.