Monday, April 24, 2006

What happened to the wave?

OK, it’s been a while so I apologize. I’ve had writer’s block and nothing seemed that funny to me. Today, my buddy Don suggested a rant (you’re a savior!), and I knew what he meant immediately. First, we’re not talking about the “spontaneous” stadium event where people create a human wave of bodies that crest in unison, yet never in synch with an actual defensive play or point scored. That wave I hate. Truly. However, I do enjoy when a second wave is started, and it ends up canceling out the first, just like a giant physics experiment. People, it’s not original, clever, cute or remotely fun. Look, if you’re going to start something in public, why the wave? Why don’t you call out a racist, or a homophobe, or a misogynist? “Hey. That shit ain’t funny and neither are you. If your IQ 22 cousin-parents were here instead of the Monster Truck Klan Rally Revival, I’d bitch-slap them for the horrible job they did raising you. I guess since they’re not here I’ll just have to just bitch-slap you.” Wa-pow!

No, the wave Don was speaking of is the “much obliged” wave you get when letting someone in on the crowded highway. You know, the way it used to be when folks would thank you properly for the favor. You see a motorist in the left lane that’s about to end, and their license plate is out of state, and there are no gaps to be found in their need to merge right. So you slow down and let them gracefully slide on over. The courteous thing for them to do is wave their hand in front of their rearview mirror, acknowledging your random act of kindness. But it rarely (if ever) happens these days. Why is that? If someone does you a solid, at least acknowledge the gesture.

Even the asshole who isn’t from out of state, who flies up the left lane, whipping in at the last minute to be as far ahead in line as physically possible before being run into a ditch – and feels so self-important and entitled that he deserves to be in front of everyone else. Even that guy used to throw up a wave, as if you meant to let him in. It would almost make you laugh. Almost. (Secretly, I would hope for the photon lasers lying dormant in my eyes to finally energize and blast the hell out of the back of his Acura Integra, or Ford Windstar, but the probability of that happening is pretty remote. About as remote as ExxonMobil, ShellTexaco and AmocoBP giving back the unregulated profits they’ve stolen from all of us, and will continue to do so until we find a way to travel that doesn’t require fossil fuels. Ironically, they didn’t have the courtesy of administering petroleum jelly, which they have in sheer abundance, before drilling us, the US consumers.)

Look, whether you’ve been given the gap or you force one, toss a wave. It won’t kill you and it may prevent the back of your vehicle from being laser-torched, or rammed, or accidentally bumped, or given a really nasty look from the driver behind you.


Anonymous said...

You're right, you have writer's block. Take a little more time.

Mike Morucci said...

Cute. Care to identify yourself?

Anonymous said...

I don't care to, but I'm sure that you can guess.....

Jessie Newburn said...

Mike, a few months back I noticed a handful of bumper stickers / magnetic car stickers that said "FOLLOW ME" ... it appeared to be a movement of folks addressing your point, minus the rant.


What I gleaned was that they were saying "follow me and my behavior as a driver."

Unfortunately -- and Malcolm Gladwell could speak to this much better than I-- the movement clearly doesn't have much "stickiness" about their message, or else I would have remembered their website, tagline or somethin'.

I've never quite been able to figure out the folk who plaster their cars with bumper stickers such as "Think Globally. Act Locally" or a gallery of JC & the God Squad messages ... then their driver behavior speaks anything but.

I did like that the "Follow Me" people, individually, were publicly stating their values and indirectly asking people to keep them honest about them.

Love ya. Please say HI to Ellen and the kids.

Anonymous said...

Ok....I lost track - too many rants in one place! Just kidding of course! As usual, I'm with you on all counts! And looking forward to the next one!

Steven said...

people down here in the Atlanta area wave all the time. Even when I don't want them to -- the A* who cuts me off without even breathing on his turn signal, then waves like I was a nice guy and let him in... I just want to lob a blue sticky his way or have my warthog's gunner give him a wave of molten steel through his rear window.