Wednesday, January 9

The Power of Waving

Today marked the first "Waving Wednesday," in which fellow travelers along the streets and paths of Missoula engaged in the ancient art of the friendly hand gesture. Missoula's new non-profit organization Bike/Walk Alliance conjured up this idea, and I think it's great. Unfortunately, I didn't get to participate this week. I forgot about waving on my walk to church this evening, and on the way home it was pretty late and no other pedestrians were out. Oh well. There's always next week.

Sure, the more jaded among us may smirk at the saccharine thought of a whole town full of adults waving at each other. It may bring up images of the Truman Show in Seaside, FL or any television series from the 1950's. But what's wrong with that? It beats accidentally cutting someone off in your car and getting the finger and a prolonged honk (so I'm told this happens from time to time). In fact some psychology enthusiasts have even included "road rage" in the official DSM. Maybe a few extra waves will restore some balance to the world of commuting.

And it's not a regulation, stipulation, law, bylaw, ordinance, or even moral axiom. It's just a moment of friendliness that lies somewhere in that shrinking gray area between self-indulgent personal liberty and byzantine legal codes. It's also free, which is much cheaper than an overhaul of Missoula's transportation infrastructure. And it's a nice reminder that we are people who sometimes use vehicles to get from place to place, rather than vehicles who have trapped human beings inside of them until they have been deposited at their destinations.

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