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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Driving in the South


A few days ago my friend, Lizzard, put up a post on his blog about "Southern Living". In the post he waxed eloquently about the subject of drinking beer, cutting the grass on his riding mower, and waving at people as they drove by. Please go HERE to read this most excellent post.

Anyhoo, I got to thinking about driving in the south. This waving thing is definitely a southern thing also. If you take a leisurely afternoon drive around here, you will no doubt receive waves from many people for no reason other than to just be waving.

The GROUCH has taken waving to a whole new level and I make it a point to do more than my share of waving. Just ask sweet wifey about it.

The first wave is known as THE LEISURELY ONE FINGER ERECTION.

Now before you get too excited, look closely at the picture. Ah ha! It is not the finger you were thinking about. This wave takes very little effort and energy and is particularly good on a hot day when you're tired. All that is required is the simple extension of the index finger. If you have the energy, you can gently twitch the finger back and forth.

If you are encountering a line of traffic, you can keep the finger extended, gently twitching it until all the cars have gone by. This way you have brightened everyone's day on the road with a simple wave. Many times the oncoming cars will reciprocate with a similar gesture.

If you're feeling more energetic you may want to try the 2 FINGER WAVE, also known as the "peace" sign or the "victory" sign depending on if you are a dove or a hawk.

I usually add a big smile to this pleasant gesture. There is absolutely no way this maneuver can be confused with the other 1 finger salute.

Now just admit it. If you saw this fellow coming at you on the road, wouldn't you just feel better?

If you're feeling really frisky, you can indulge in the "I'M TRYING TO FLAG YOU DOWN WAVE".

This wave will really get the other driver's attention although I do not recommend doing this to a line of traffic as you have to take both hands off the wheel during the maneuver. If you're driving a convertible you can really get into this by greatly flapping your arms toward the sky! Not only will the other driver be surprised, he/she will also wonder, "who the hell was that???", for at least the next 10 minutes.

I have also seen this wave on the river from stranded boaters, however, instead of a big goofy grin, the boater is usually wearing a distressed look. Also, everyone else in the boat will usually be doing the same thing. That's how you can tell the difference.

Finally, you can really surprise the other driver with the "OMG I'M ABOUT TO CRASH!" wave.

If you see someone doing this IN YOUR LANE approaching you, it's probably NOT just a friendly wave!

Whatever form of waving you decide to try, just remember that up north you won't likely receive any gratification. As my friend Lizzard pointed out, unsolicited waving is a southern thing. You won't find a bunch of Yankees waving at you or waving back at you. In fact if you wave at a Yankee driver, they will frequently glare angrily at you as if to say, "How dare you wave at me without my permission?" I guess Yankees are generally just not a very happy lot, and I have found that their GIVE-A-CRAP-O-METERS are in the red zone over the most insignificant things.

Yankee Driver

So now you know all you need to know about waving and driving. I even wave at people while driving at night. Sweet wifey says, "Why are you waving? They can't see you!"

I reply, "Ahhhhhh yes! But it's the thought that counts!"

Make it a point to wave at someone on your next drive.


  1. Having spent time as a cop, you notice that EVERYBODY waves at ya. Sometimes the whole hand, sometimes just the middle finger. Guess who sees the blue lites?
    But waving is truly a southern thang. I applaud you for a well thought, meaningful post.

  2. Hubby is correct, those are all his waves, and he does them on a regular basis -- the last one is the scariest, but I'm so used to it I just laugh.

    Sometimes people even wave back.

    Deborah F. Hamilton
    Right Truth

  3. Yep, waving is a southern thing. As for the beer, I remember years back living in south Louisiana. In those days I was teaching in a small town on the west bank of the Mississippi River and I lived on the opposite bank. Each day I would take the ferry back and forth. In the afternoon when school was out I had time to go down the road about 1 mile to a small grocery and bar(not unusual in south LA) and get several beers for the trip across the river. Many days when crossing I would stand beside my car with the wind blowing in my face and have a cold one while talking to the State Trooper beside me. My have things changed.