Waving at Strangers

by Kee Kee on September 8, 2014

in Inspiration,Texas

crossing guard

I’m working on a couple work projects that are taking up all my mental bandwidth. I’m not complaining because they are insanely fun film projects and I’m having a blast. However the deadlines are such that I find myself working pretty much every waking moment in my home office. When I’m not on the phone, I’m either sitting at my desk on my computer or I’m laying awake at night brainstorming ideas (which is actually kinda fun, in a twisted sleep-deprived kind of way).  Unfortunately I’m having a hard time turning my brain off right now. When I am out and about doing other things, such as the movie I went to with a friend last night, I find I’m still thinking about these projects.

I realized how lost in my head I’ve been when I was driving on auto-pilot through my Austin neighborhood today to do errands. I did a double take when I noticed a stranger smiling big and waving at me. She was an older woman sitting in a folding chair, wearing an orange crossing guard reflective vest and had a hand held stop sign sitting in her lap. I hesitated for a split second, and then found myself smiling widely and happily waving right back.  The surge of “feel good-ness” that her wave gave me left me smiling for the next block. I began to wonder what it would be like to wave like she did to strangers. So I did just that. I drove past a teenager walking her dog and I waved. I drove past a guy out for a run and waved at him. I drove past a man on his bike and rolled down my window, stuck out my arm and waved like mad at him. Each person did a little double take, and then waved back at me while returning my smile.  By the time I waved at the last person on my drive home, I was actually laughing out loud as I did it. It wasn’t until I returned home and sat down at my desk that I realized that by waving at all the strangers, I actually completely and totally stopped thinking about work.

I’m not sure how often I’ll do the wave at strangers from my car thing, as I’m sure I could get pegged as the neighborhood weirdo. But for today anyway, it sure made me feel good.


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Paul S September 10, 2014 at 3:01 am

If you drive backroads in some of the rural areas of Texas, and I’m sure other states, you’ll know the people who live and work out there “in the country”. They are the person who will wave was they pass you going the other direction, or as you pass them as they are checking the mail or mowing the bar ditch in front of their house. Growing up in the Austin / Round Rock / Georgetown area I had the opportunity to experience that all the time when I got away from the city. Now though, it doesn’t happen as often as it once did. However, during my travels to various parts of the state I still encounter it on the backroads, even when I’m pulling my travel trailer and obviously don’t belong to that areas community. Waving is at others is such a simple act of kindness; and in some cases may be the only act of kindness a person might experience in their day. Thanks for this story Kee Kee.

Kee Kee September 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Paul, I can totally relate. I love that about road tripping in rural areas – people are definitely friendlier. Bigger cities, not so much. After I wrote this piece my mom called me to remind me that I had just spent a month in rural Wisconsin at my parents’ house – it’s surrounded by Amish farms and the Amish are super crazy friendly. They have the biggest arm waves and smiles you can imagine. I love that. Smiles and waves are contagious!

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