Did You Wave Back?

Not as big as the hills for some today (see Leadville 100, aka the “Race Across the Sky” for details), but my way home…

Today’s Run

Time – 1:29:16
Distance – 7.83 miles
Pace – 11:24 min/mi
Elevation – 318 ft.

Long Run Day! Many miles (more than usual, at least), lots of sun, and a significant feeling of accomplishment. Maybe a half marathon isn’t that far away after all. This Fall, perhaps?

Did You Wave Back?

I’ve got this habit. Nothing too disgusting or illegal, mind you, but I’m sure that it annoys those people driving past as I’m out running. I do it a lot, and it gets really repetitive. I don’t mind having the habit; I think it’s a good thing. Polite, even.

I wave at the cars that go past when I run against traffic. Every…single…one. Yeah, it’s that bad. I can’t stop myself. If I see a car, I just have to wave. I can’t help it. It seems like the right thing to do.

I live in a small city east of St. Louis in Illinois (not East St. Louis, you wouldn’t believe how many people ask me if I live there). It’s a reasonably nice town. We have parks and a university and good cops who keep us safe. We have a lot of the same problems as other places, but we’re Midwestern, so we’re polite for the most part (except in the Starbucks drive-through…DO NOT get in the way there…).

I wave to the cars that go past. And, surprisingly enough, most people wave back. Rough estimates would be 65–75% of people return the wave. I get a lot of confused looks (“Do I know you?”), and some whistles and cat calls (“Nice legs!”), and I even got flipped off once (It was some high school kid in a late-model Red Honda Civic coupe…If this is your child, nice job…).

There are, however, three kinds of waves that I generally receive. They are, in no particular order, the following:

  1. The Standard Wave – Raise hand, shake back and forth x number of times, return hand to previous position. This can be substituted with a single finger raised from the hand on the top of the steering wheel, with less back and forth. Either hand is approved for this wave. Sometimes, the passenger will fulfill the Standard Wave duties. Less cool, but still appreciated. 75% of all waves.
  2. What I like to call the “Half-Assed” Wave – These waves are, at best, sloth-like. A sort-of-tilted head node, a partial finger raise (Really?!), or, my favorite, the hand that comes up to just peek over the dashboard, like Tim the Tool Man’s neighbor Wilson on Home Improvement. The hand actually prairie dog’s a little bit. Sometimes, all I see is the movement of the shoulder. But, hey, it’s the thought that counts, and I do appreciate the acknowledgement. 24.9999% of all waves.
  3. This is my favorite: the “Holy-Crap-I-Can-See-You-and-You-Can-See-Me-and-I’m-Really-Excited-About-Our-New-Relationship” Wave – These people are the best. They totally get it. Wave back with gusto! Be one with the wave. Let me know that you’re excited to wave. Screaming, horn honking, or excited hands out the window may be included at no additional charge (please limit to one hand at a time). Absolutely makes my run! 0.0001% of all waves. You know who you are!

Special note – Truckers, policemen, motorcyclists, and Tesla drivers all get a thumbs up. The first two are working hard and either could ruin my day, the third gets the thumbs up because I used to ride and there’s respect there, and the fourth because that sh!#’s just COOL! Bucket list vehicle, no doubt!

Anyway, if you’re out there and you see a wave, wave back. I do it to be friendly, and because I live in a nice place where people know each other.

Oh, and one more reason. If I wave and you wave back, I know you’ve seen me and you’re paying attention to me. And that lets me know I’m safe around you.

See, there is a good reason after all.


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