I have thought before that I spend a great deal of time "trying to be nice" to people that don't necessarily ask or expect that of me. But that's a neurosis for another time.
I tried to be nice to this dude and I let him in and he drove on. And so did I. And I was reminded of something that I miss from home and that almost never happens here. The Wave. No, not this:
Though here's a fun fact for you: Aussies call this the "Mexican Wave". Isn't that interesting? No one that I've asked seems to know why.
I mean the Wave of Acknowledgment. The flick of the hand between the driver's seat and the passenger seat that says, "Thanks for that. I acknowledge that you did something for me that you didn't have to do." Growing up, we had the Wave drilled into us. When mom or dad would merge in front or someone would let them in, they'd say, "Amy, wave at that person." And by golly, I did. I guess that technically this would be called the Delegated Wave, but still--the principle remains the same. I drive, therefore I Wave. ("By golly?" Who am I, Opie or something?) City driving has made me a more aggressive driver, but when the occasion calls for it, I always Wave.
So, Aussies don't Wave. Not that I've seen. And that bugs me. Not hugely. I don't even really think about it on a conscious level that much. But if you've ever lived in another country for an extended period of time, you find that there are lots of little things that get at you. It's kind of like a low-level buzzing that you don't normally notice but when you do, you go, "Geez, what is that about?" And for me, this lack of Waving, this is one of them. Is that totally pedantic?
So here I am, driving behind this guy who I've just let in, and I say aloud, "Are you gonna Wave? Are you--nope! No Wave." And I sigh, and this wave of homesickness washes over me. How funny is that? But I'm telling you, it's the little things.
And then I thought of the Steering Wheel Wave, which is really a different animal altogether. You know, when you're driving on a two-lane country road and you pass another car going in the opposite direction? And you both lift a finger or, if you're feeling quite friendly, two fingers off the wheel. Like, "Hey, y'all. Here I am, driving, and there you are. Driving. Let's take this moment to acknowledge our mutual existence. Okay. Bye." It's kind of nice, isn't it? I wonder if they do that on country roads here in Oz.
It would make me feel better if they did.
Aren't we all in this together? Don't we share this planet? I let you merge, you let me? I think I am going to print T-shirts. Or bumper stickers. They'll say, "Wave. By golly."
P.S. Clearly I should not blog after midnight. I am like a gremlin of the blogworld.