Tuesday, April 15, 2008

old school


i like old school stuff. the time before cell phones. the era of basketball as a non-contact sport. agrarian culture centered around family as opposed to biofuels. one old school thing you still might see from time to time on an old country road every now and again is a basic courtesy that comes in the form of a single finger, or, on occasion, maybe even a whole hand, being raised in salutation to another occupant of the road. a basic acknowledgement of others, it may convey greetings or thanks or even “you’ve got the right of way.” but i’ve never seen it used in a negative way. even when i encounter this gesture from complete strangers on roads i’ve never been on before, i somehow feel connected to the place and to that place’s former time that is inevitably dying. as a kid i’d see this gesture all the time; i saw it again today, but could not tell you the last time i’ve seen it. anyway – if you’re out there reading this blog, just imagine yours truly sitting behind the wheel of a 1969 ford f-100 coming at you down a country back road doing about 50 mph on a bright sunny afternoon. the windows are down and you’ve really got nowhere you’ve got to be in a hurry. as we pass each other, i’ll raise my finger from atop the steering wheel in a knowing way and nod. maybe you’ll even return the favor.

7 comments:

Wolong said...

I agree, there is a great need for common courtesy to return.

Bezner said...

My grandfather taught me to do this. And so I do. A lot. Joy thought it was weird at first, but now she just goes along with it. It's comforting to me.

e. l. wood said...

steve - what do you mean by "taught"? did you just observe and pick up on it, or did he actually talk with you about the specifics of the etiquette? if he did some talking on the subject i'd love to hear what you remember.

Steve said...

No, I just observed it. And we was my hero.

Steve said...

he...not we...duh

laura g said...

e, i'm a big fan of the single finger salutation on country roads. in nashville, it means nothing. (and, well, it's usually a different finger.) but i have the good fortune to visit east tennessee most weekends, where i routinely see this warm-hearted greeting. i like the way other drivers acknowledge my presence instead of breezing by, consumed by hurry. it is a different world, less than 2 hours from the big city. people notice each other and CARE.

my personal favorite version of this greeting is the old guy who always grips the top of the steering wheel with both hands, so his wave is both index fingers simultaneously.

SNAKE HUNTERS said...

Dr. Wood: It's been some time since we've chatted, and I was wondering if 'Obama-Mania' has had much impact on your Mississippi Campus?

We have friends in Portland, Oregon
and the excited 'psycho-babble' there is...
quite intense! reb
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