Let’s Bring Back the Car Wave

Well hello again! It appears the world has continued to turn while I have been adjusting to new mommyhood.  And what an adjustment it has been (and will continue to be for quite some time, I suspect)!  I do plan to write about the birth of our baby in another post, I’m just not quite ready yet.  These postpartum hormones are p-o-t-e-n-t…if I cry when I run out of cereal, I’m pretty sure I will be an absolute mess if I try to write about my baby.

So for today’s return to the blogosphere, I decided to write about the car wave.  A safely unemotional topic.  Ha.  I really shouldn’t make claims like that until my post is complete… 

People are busy. Really busy. I get it.  We’ve all got places to be, big ‘to do’ lists, and stress.  Being busy and having stress are not excuses for behaving like jerks though, yet I see so much jerk-ish behaviour on the roads when I’m out and about.  There is something about being in the confines of a car, maybe even behind tinted windows, that seems to unleash the inner jackass in some people.  Tailgating, merging abruptly without a signal, or hogging express lanes when you are the slowpoke who belongs two lanes over…just some of the behaviours that I find really frustrating in other drivers. (Texting while driving is a whole other post!)

Today my husband claimed our baby to watch a football (soccer) match on tv.  This left me with 90 minutes to do…ANYTHING I WANTED! So what did I choose? I chose to gas up my car and return a library book. And you know what? My inner productivity junkie rejoiced! Two things that needed to be done, that would be significantly more challenging if my wee one were in the car too.

As I’m preparing to stop at a traffic light, another car jumped in front of me in my lane, causing me to hit the brakes to avoid rear-ending him.  This was rude and unsafe, and I felt the stirrings of road rage in my belly.  But…then the driver gave me the car wave.  He rolled down his window, stuck his arm out, and waved at me…in thanks.  And in that instant, road rage gone.  Evaporated.  I was left to once again to enjoy music from the Empire soundtrack (best show ever!!! Makes me want to be a rapper! Well, not really.) and my child-free journey to the gas station.

Even though this person’s initial actions should have and could have been avoided in the names of safety and courtesy, the subsequent wave made everything ok.  It’s like the person realised they had behaved like a jackass, and they appreciated that I wasn’t all up on them with my horn and my hand gestures.  They made the effort to acknowledge me, and that took the anger out of the moment.

I’m sure we have all had moments behind the wheel when we did something jackassy – like realise we hadn’t been paying close enough attention and our turn was RIGHT THERE and we needed the other lane RIGHT NOW and so we just jumped in, other drivers be damned.  It happens.  But next time it happens to me, I’m going to remember to give the driver I inconvenienced the wave.  It’s so simple, yet the difference it could make for that person’s mood could be significant, and therefore worth it in my opinion. I hope you will join me in bringing back the car wave.  It simply isn’t done enough, despite all the jackassy driving out there.

**Just remember to make sure the other driver can actually see your wave! If you do it mid-lane-change, they aren’t directly behind you and therefore likely won’t see your kind gesture.**

Hey, look at me! I made it to the end of the post without crying!  Maybe I’m not destined to be an emotionally depleted mess for the rest of time, after all!


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