We stared at each other through the heat waves and dust. My hand was tensed, ready by my side, but it never wavered. My eyes were glued on him, waiting for him to make the first move. My eye began to twitch. Through the distance, I saw his fingers reach, almost imperceptibly, and I responded like lightning. My hand leapt up, and as our cars sailed past each other, we saluted each other with matching friendly waves.
I really, really love it when folks wave. That's always been my favorite thing about riding a motorcycle; that little salute that fellow riders always give each other. In small towns, especially those in the west, I've been seeing more and more waves. Maybe it's because I'm in a truck, therefore I look like a local, but whether it's a case of mistaken identity, or just small town friendliness, I love it.
The hard bit lies in knowing the protocols. Alway wave in return, never initiate outside your home turf. That goes without saying. But what happens when you are going 70 on a little back highway? There's no time to think, no time to react. You must choose your action before you know what they are going to do. If you decide not to wave, and the local does, you've committed an unpardonable offense, and you must immediately flip your truck around and chase him down in order to return said wave. Otherwise, you will never make another friend, and will always be known as "that rude person", no matter what town, state, or country you are in.
If you decide to go ahead and wave, and the local doesn't, then you are again in a bind. Folks around town will start wondering just who this uppity gal from elsewhere thinks she is, and why she is waving to complete strangers, and before you know it, they will have decided that you just robbed the bank, and are attempting to blend in. A lynch mob will be dispatched forthwith.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. So you may as well wave cheerfully. I have decided to do a whole aerobic routine, and I incorporate the wave into a series of flailings to whatever Christian rock/ country ballad/ farm report is on the radio at the time. The nice little old men in big trucks that wave probably can't see me properly anyway, so they just think I'm being nice, and the younger folks have eyes sharp enough to read my plate and know I'm just some loony from California. We elected Arnold, you know. Nothing's strange for us. So it all works out.
It's hot as hell in Laughlin, Nevada, and I'll be home tomorrow.