Friday, March 21, 2014

#157 - The Wave

We are all familiar with various types of waves - the wave hello and its cousin, the wave goodbye. There is also the wave off, as in "I'm okay; I don't need any help." It's sort of a way of saying no with the hand. Of course, there is also "the wave," that obnoxious thing fans do (or used to do) at football games. Then there is the Jeep wave.

This latter wave is one I was unfamiliar with - until we bought our Jeep in September of last year. The Jeep wave is a select wave, restricted to and shared between Jeep owners. But the Jeep wave is not for just any Jeep owner.

The Jeep wave is almost a subculture within the Jeep owners subculture itself. Grand Cherokee and Patriot drivers need not apply. The old Jeep Wagoneer is also excluded from the club. The Jeep wave is restricted to owners and drivers of Jeep Wranglers and Rubicons. Four-door versions are also admitted to the club since they simply look like an elongated version of the traditional two-door Jeep.

Much like the secret handshake said to be shared by Freemasons, the Jeep wave is a greeting, an acknowledgment between owners of the traditional Jeep style. I suppose it could be seen as a sort of knowing wink or telling glance. Perhaps it is a recognition that we were discerning enough not willing to settle for some other pretender brand or for one of the upstart Jeep models.

The dealer who sold us our Jeep was apparently not up on secret handshakes and rituals and was remiss in not telling us about the custom of the wave. As a result, i was a bit surprised the first time I encountered it. I simply thought it was some overly friendly driver or perhaps someone who thought they recognized me as I passed. I waved back but thought nothing more about it - until it happened again. And again.

Drivers of other types of vehicles do not wave as they pass. And apparently there are other Jeep drivers not versed in the wave. I notice this lack of protocol primarily in younger Jeep drivers, and I chalk their lack of observation of the proprieties to a shortcoming in their education.

However, I have encountered the wave often enough in the six months we have owned our Jeep to know it is not coincidental or a fluke. Actually, it is something similar to what I sometimes see amongst RV owners as they pass or in campgrounds whenever we are able to take our trailer out. I suppose a passerby might liken it to membership in some sort of cult. I simply like to think of it as civility.

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