When I first moved to my town in Connecticut just about two years ago, I couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. From the dry cleaner to our neighbors, from the town hall clerk to librarians, every person was beyond friendly…they were accommodatingly happy! I thought I had moved to some parallel universe. Am I still on the east coast? Is this really still the metro NYC area? Don’t get me wrong, New Yorkers and New Jerseyians are awesome folks – helpful and friendly and big hearted and savvy (and in NJ I lived amongst a wonderful, friendly neighborhood. Holla Glen Wild Lake!) But this new town had something I couldn’t put my finger on. Then I realized it – it’s a town of wavers.
The waving became apparent when I started running. Most of the roads here are hilly, winding their way between (small) mountains and rocky streams, hence, very little sidewalks. I noticed that most drivers not only give runners wide berths, but many also wave. I often initiate the wave, as a way of saying, “Thank you for not hitting me,” but many wave first. Sometimes, it’s a wave of acknowledgement, quick and barely pulling the fingers off the steering wheel, sometimes it’s an outright “You go girl” palm wave. If you get a honk and a wave, well, you’ve hit the road-running motivational lottery.
Last year, after my son got on the bus to school, I would take my usual three-mile loop around the neighborhood. Somewhere on a long, glorious, and rare flat stretch of road that I was jogging along, the buses would pass me on their way back to the bus garage. My son’s bus driver always gave me a wide berth, a honk, and a big wave. Talk about a much-needed boost in the nick of time!
Today I met up with one of my running BF’s, Mary, to do our weekly long run – this time was 6 miles. Our route started and ended in downtown – the one place in the area with sidewalks. Lots of people were out running, walking, enjoying the brisk morning sun. Everyone says good morning or gives a little wave. We even run into another teacher runner on her morning run – always inspiring to have happen. It’s an all-around happy running world! At around mile 5, we’re doing a slog up a long hill, and I hear “Gooooooooo Naaaaannnnncyyyyyy!” I look up, and I see a blur of curly blond hair leaning out a minivan window. I realize after it passes that it’s Anne, another one of my running BF’s, risking getting twig-smacked in the head just to say hello. Thank you, Anne!
So after two years, between the waving and the crazy friends yelling at me through car windows, my town finally feels like “my town”. So if you’re driving, always wave to runners. A town full of wavers is a great place to run.