QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Friday, August 7, 2009

To wave or not to wave?

I’m a runner. Most runners casually acknowledge each other in passing out on a run, similar to the way in which fellow motorcyclists subtly raise a couple of fingers as they pass one another. Not a nerdy big wave – just a cool “yo, ‘sup” kind of a wave.

For a runner, a lot of gestures can qualify as a ‘hello:’ a quick raise of the hand, a nod of the head, a smile, and of course a “how ya doin’.” Mornings are particularly gratifying, when one is able cheerily to extend a “morning!” to one’s fellow humans. The day’s beginning is that much more auspicious when runners and walkers greet each other with good wishes for the day to come.

The buzzkill comes when there is no response. Nothing. Nada. A wasted effort on the part of the runner already expending a lot of energy. I am particularly offended when, inbetween labored exhalations, I greet a person walking and s/he fails to acknowledge my friendly salutation. If I, while huffing and puffing and burning more calories per minute than the walker, am able to muster enough energy to greet a fellow human being on a walk, then surely a walker can return the gesture.

I acquiesce that there are some exceptions out there, one of which is a lovey-dovey couple walking along, hand-in-hand, oblivious to any world but their own. Walk on, lovebirds. Peace. A busy mom or dad trying to keep toddlers in check is also forgivable. Two or more people heartily engaged in conversation; that’s okay, too.

Any solo runner or walker, however, who cannot summon the vigor required to nod the head, raise a [friendly] finger, or mutter a “hey” is a disgraceful Debbie Downer. Deep in thought or listening to headphones? Just want some time alone? Unable to multi-task? Spent from speedwork? Suck it up and wave, for crying out loud. How hard is it? Go ahead… make my day.

Wave, dammit.


  1. There is, of course, that occasional runner who is just SO BAD at running that she can't do anything but keep going. Her smile looks like a grimace, her nod looks like her head is falling off of her body, and her wave looks like she's swatting away the inevibility of death.
    (how's that for poetic?)

    So, she marches forward. She tries to smile or wave or nod, but it never comes out right. Runners passing by are offended/frightened/confused.

    Overall, it's ugly.

    I'm just sayin... ;-)

  2. Ya know, sometimes you miss the obvious. If someone doesn't wave back, you simply turn around, follow at a distance of about two feet and say, "HI! HI! HI! HI!" until he/she responds. Then turn back around and continue on your way.

    You're welcome.

  3. This is why I don't run. I couldn't take the "no wave" rejection!

  4. I would SO wave to you.
    (The Sesame Street photo = awesome.)

  5. Love the pictures - very funny! I am always waving at people who pass by me during a run. There aren't too many people out when I run - just the newspaper delivery guy, the garbage men and during the school year, the kids waiting for the bus. The newspaper guy seems to like as close to me as possible (without running over my foot) and chuck a newspaper over my head into someone's driveway. The garbage men drive so fast through our neighborhood that I get hit with little bits of gravel. I usually just get a grunt out of the kids at the bus stop. I guess they are not so excited about school. But I just keep on waving anyways!

  6. Dang. I have a hard time with this one. To wave or not to wave. I have noticed that men are much more likely to wave, I usually muster a grimace, and many times I have waved and ... nothing. Maybe the non-wavers are olympic athletes and waving would mess up their PR? I dunno. Maybe it's my disguise that scares them. Maybe it's hard to wave as you pass?

    Don't get me started on CARS. grrrr Oh, this is your story. sorry.


  7. ....and you know what? It doesn't cost a cent either.

  8. Great essay. And photo essay. I'm not much of a waver. I'm more of a nodder. You know--like the way Chinese and Japanese people greet each other with a mini-bow that looks more like a nod. That's me. Does nodding count as a greeting?

  9. That's exactly why I do not run ~ OH hell I don't even walk, I would hate to come across as rude!

  10. Yeah, wave already or I'll give you the stink eye!

    Funny post!

  11. My husband says the same thing. For awhile I would get a report whether people nodded, waved, etc during his run. I'm on the treadmill and don't get many people wandering through our basement...but I would wave (and scream) if someone came by.

    Love the Sesame Street photo.

  12. Cyclists are the same way -- a head nod, a full wave, a low wave from a hand on the handlebar -- there's typically something given in passing.

    And, of course, a bit of chatting if we're stopped at the same light. Typically "beautiful day" or "how far you going?" stuff.

  13. This post made me LLOL!!! I, for when, will from now on be DARNED sure I wave at runners when they wave or gesture at me,...well depending on that gesture however.

  14. Rude, little turds.

    If I ran, I would be equally enraged by this behavior.

  15. Defintely wave. Try this next time (just as a social experiment)... start flipping people the bird as you pass them. See if you get a greater response that a polite wave.

  16. So funny but great point. I hate when someone passes me on the street (and I'm not a runner) and doesn't even respond to my smile and hello. Would it kill ya?

  17. Wow. Some of these comments had me laughing out loud! Well done, peeps!

    I recently posted about this. We encounter the same thing on the motorcyle. Totally annoys me if I release my death grip to wave (a low peace sign, to be accurate) and get nothing in return. But, and this is annoying, we recently purchased a new Jeep and other "Jeepers" wave at us. Why? I don't wave at other Chevy Cobalts.

  18. Here in this little city of 300,000 there are just too many non-reciprocaters to risk a wave or "hello", so it's iPod wearing for me.

    I was in a small town for a few months and the iPod had to go. So many people waving and saying "hello" and other greets that having an iPod on just seemed rude.

    I prefer the small town.

    However I have found doing the 10k around a nearby lake tends to be friendlier. It's just the urban running that seems cold.


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