Posted by: loripalooza | June 15, 2008

The Wave

A couple of Hallelujah breakdown, cheers to that, guess I’ll put the razor blades away, rain-free days and a large, healthy dose of much-needed sunshine meant lots of scooter time this weekend.  Yesterday we attended a community scooter rally then tagged along on a very brief group ride with a pack of Ruckus riders, mostly because they were going in our general direction home, but also because they looked like a fun group.  Of course, James, our Vespa riding friend, saw us take off with them and sent Joe a text message asking if we were drunk and wanted to fight, because that’s what happens when you hang out with the Ruckus’.  Having an Aprilia (there were two out of about a hundred other scooters at this rally, the majority Vespas) we just go with whomever will take us.  All I can say is we didn’t get into any fights, although posing for a group picture the leader did ask us all to look menacing—not that effective standing next to a row of cute scooters, but I managed a fake helmet bash to Joe’s head that probably looked fairly convincing.

One of the bonding rituals of riding a scooter, or motorcycle, is the etiquette of waving to your fellow riders.  I took a motorcycle safety class a couple years ago and the instructor even encouraged us to wave to each other when we were out on the road. It’s the unspoken camaraderie, the “we’re in the same club” feeling, the We’re Only on Two Wheels and Everybody’s Out to Get Us Club.  At first I was a bit nervous about it, not wanting to appear too eager, or give like a really obvious and dorky wave, (I’m riding a motorcycle just like you, you big scary Harley guy!!), but more importantly at the time, I was worried about keeping my balance.  Then I figured out a nod works, too, and now that I’m a more experienced rider I wave all the time, and even find myself starting to wave at motorcycles and scooters when I’m driving the car! 

Riding as a passenger with Joe yesterday I was able to observe a couple of basic types of waves and categorize them as such:

Feeding the Birds– where you sort of toss a wave out, starting with a closed fist then flinging your fingers open down toward the ground. 

Flicking your Ashes–not to be confused with Feeding the Birds, this wave is also directed towards the ground, but in a somewhat lazier fashion, allowing the arm to fall loosely toward the back of your bike, like a person smoking in a group.

Heil–like a very bored Nazi, the hand barely leaves the handgrip, palm wafted towards you briefly in acknowledgment.

Dos Cervesas (Por Favor)–for the more committed waver, this entails actually raising your arm slightly above shoulder height in an almost cocky hail, two fingers drawn together, as if at a restaurant flagging the wait-person down for a couple more beers.

Petting the Dog–no fingers, no feeding or flicking, just a drop of the arm out to the side, palm down, petting an unseen dog’s head. Almost doesn’t register as a wave at all; sort of looks like a hand-signal, makes you wonder if it was even meant for you.

Too Cool for You–these people don’t wave, making you feel like you don’t belong, like when you’re in a Nordstroms and no one offers to help you and you wonder if you’re invisible, or worse, frumpy. But I may be projecting….



  1. Love this post, Lori! VW van drivers do the same thing. When we owned our VW van, we joined an exclusive club of wavers. They also do this on small islands off the coast of Maine. Every single driver waves at every other driver because there are so few of them and they all know each other.
    When I was there on a vist and we had multiple people in the car, we assigned a “designated waver.” It didn’t have to be the driver. But, someone always had to wave.

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