Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Wave

I live on a corner lot and often sit out front on my park bench in the summer, watching the world go by...one car at a time. In the evenings, and occasionally in the mornings, there are people walking by, sometimes in twos, sometimes in the accompaniment of dogs on leashes. There's an older couple who pass by in the mornings before it gets hot. We say "hello" and wave. He has a longer stride, so I'm guessing she actually gets more exercise. One neighbor down the street a bit has a big Rin-Tin-Tin kind of dog, not sure if it's male or female. We exchange waves. Another neighbor down the street had two grey dogs that looked like a mix between a poodle and a schnauzer, sort of like Pete and RePete. We either wave or have the same small conversation every time. A couple of years ago, there was just one grey dog, and this week when she walked by, she was not accompanied by a dog at all.

There is one amazing woman who mesmerizes me. A few years ago, before my knee issues, I would go to the nearby high school track and walk a few rounds. This one woman, who is probably my age or older, would appear and move about with Olympic-type speed. She is bronzed and has not one obvious ounce of fat on her body. There was an old movie called "Walk, Don't Run" that included an Olympic speed-walking competition. This woman could have won that contest hands down. I read where a regular walking pace is 3-3.5 mph, 4 mph being a brisk walk. This lady goes about 4.2 mph, I'd guess. She speeds by the house, speeds 'round the track several times, then speeds up and down the bleacher stairs for a while. (I believe coaches have football team members do these "ladders" as punishment.) Then she heads home, still at the same pace. There is always a bottle of water in her hand, and it's not unusual to see her pulling a couple of her grandkids in a little wagon behind her. None of it slows her down one bit. When I can catch her eye, I wave. Once she even slowed down just enough for me to have time to tell her she's amazing. I'm jealous of her knees mostly.

I like the wave you get (and give) after someone stops to let someone else into busy traffic. It's like you suddenly have a best friend.

In the countryside, waving is not unusual. I remember riding in the truck and watching Dad wave. If you were someone he knew but weren't particularly his forte, he would do the only-forefinger wave, keeping hands on the steering wheel. This is also the wave used for complete strangers, sort of a reserved greeting. A little more familiar-person wave would be the keeping-hands-on-the-steering-wheel-but-lifting-all-but-the-thumb-up wave. If it were someone he really liked or hadn't seen in a while, he would do a type of salute, even tipping his hat occasionally. That's when I knew we had passed someone really special!

This was back before the middle-finger salute was invented.




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