Dillan DiGiovanni thinks we should wave at strangers more often. Really.
I was biking to work the other day and this funny thing happened. I waved at some dude I didn’t know. But I didn’t know that I didn’t know him when I did it. And then I realized I didn’t care.
It’s too good not to share.
So, I’m riding along, (in a headwind that I knew better to wrassle with before I left the house) and approach the section of town where I’m headed to work. Since I work for myself, this means I work wherever I want to work on any given day.
On this day, I was headed to my favorite cafe. And as I rode alone, I thought I saw one of the amazing folks who works there walking along the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. As I got nearer and nearer, I sized him up and I was almost certain the beard, glasses, flip-top cap and outfit matched exactly what my friend would be wearing.
“How lovely,” I thought, “that he’s up so early and out for a stroll.”
It didn’t occur as odd to me, in the nanoseconds that passed as I approached on my bike, that he was walking in the opposite direction of the cafe.
Since I was (almost 99%) certain it was him, and we were making eye contact for some reason, I raised my hand in a wave and he did too and then I rode past and felt a tremor pass through me.
“OH NO! That’s NOT someone I know! And that was SO WEIRD!”
And in the span of about three seconds I realized:
1) it was definitely not him
2) it was definitely weird that I waved to someone I didn’t actually know
3) it was definitely awesome that he waved back
As I kept pedaling, I kept thinking. It was a mistake, yes. It felt a little weird, true. But was there anything truly wrong or weird about that?
Not a darn thing, in my opinion.
A wave is a wave is a wave. It’s a universal sign for “hi there”, sort of like the head bob/nod. It’s acknowledgement of another person’s existence. It’s only something that fosters goodwill and kindness.
What would happen if we all just waved at people, regardless of whether we know them or not?
I encourage you to make mistakes like this, more often. Say hi and wave. If it’s someone you know, awesome. If it’s someone you don’t know, wave anyway.
And smile, too.
photo courtesy of Alan Vernon
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