In Fargo I can pull up next to someone I know at a stoplight and wave until I think my hand will fall off – they don’t even look. The only times that hand signals are quite visible are during occurrences of road rage; and then they are accompanied with lots of yelling and angry expressions.
It’s always a lovely change of pace to drive on two-lane roads with no horns honking and no stoplights. I usually get to that type of road experience while driving to my family’s farm near Cavalier. As soon as I exit Interstate 29, I take a deep breath and relax.
It seems that I always forget about the wave, until I meet the first car on the road and get a courtesy hello. The waves are a pleasant reminder that I’m nearing home.
On a recent trip to my family’s farm, my husband was driving the car. As we turned off Interstate and started driving on County Road 1, the first vehicle that met us gave a nice pointer-finger farmer wave. My husband waved back.
“Look at you!” I said. “You’re being friendly and fitting in.”
“Well yeah,” Terry said. “That’s what you do.”
Throughout the weekend, Terry varied his wave and made sure to greet every vehicle. He became intense and focused while driving, making sure not to leave anyone out. At one point he missed waving while a vehicle passed by but gave the driver a last minute head nod.
“That doesn’t count,” I said. “He couldn’t even see that.”
We debated about the relevancy of the head nod for ten minutes and during that time, two more vehicles that got waves from my debate opponent.
After spending some time with my family, we decided to leave the farm and head to Cavalier to pick some things up. We were having great conversation and for a split second Terry turned to look at me while I made a point. In that moment, we met a vehicle on the road…and Terry missed the wave.
“Nooooo!” Terry said. “I bet that person is saying ‘What the heck silver car? Thanks for not waving at me. They must not be from around these parts.’ I bet they think the North Dakota license plates are a lie.”
I laughed but he didn’t think it was funny.
He felt bad for missing one wave, until we got back to the farm and had a conversation with my mother.
“You missed the wave?” she asked. “You could have just given them the head nod, that counts too.”
The look on my husband’s face was priceless – it was a look of realization, of redemption, and one of winning. He was right. His head nod counted.
I doubt he will ever let me distract him again from waving at his fellow travelers in Pembina County, but he might alternate between the wave and the head nod. If he waves at you, please wave back. I don’t think he would take it very well if you didn’t.