Trina Machacek: Choosing from choices
Throughout any given day, we all have choices to make. Easy ones, like either having a third cup of coffee or stopping at two and letting your heart stop beating 300 times a minute! Or harder ones. Dry toast or a big ole crumble top apple streusel muffin. Some choices are automatic. “Just Breathe” declares the note of inspiration you might come across — so you choose to just breathe. Your body will, without you even thinking about it, breathe. Like blinking or growing hair. Your human self chooses to do those things automatically — to keep you alive and aware and warm under that hair! But what about the choices you get to make? Here is a good example that I took notice of on my drive home the other day. Waving at passing cars.
Now on the surface, this seems like such an automatic thing. But! Hey, a “but” is waving at you. … Ha, ha! But it’s only automatic if you let it be. Don’t let it be automatic. Let waving be something that means you want to acknowledge other drivers on the road — in a good sense. For instance, if you are in a big city, waving can be taken as a mean thing. Too many people, too much traffic, too little time for a cordial wave. So it might be best to not wave on a busy street or the freeway. Let’s put that aside and just concentrate on the rural act of the wave.
Rurally, the wave is a good interaction. On rural roads, chances of you knowing who you meet and pass are pretty good. You don’t, however, know everybody. Nobody does. But a wave gives you a fleeting moment to get to know the dude in the cab-over that is hauling hay or cows or freight. A wave tells the woman taking her kids to the dentist that you feel her pain of worrying about how to pay that bill. A wave tells the newest drivers on the road, 16-year-old, growing-up kids, that you trust they will be responsible drivers and not drink, text, read, put on makeup or eat while driving — or drive too fast — or drive with their feet — well, you get the idea. A wave is a reminder that you are not alone out there.
It’s like winning a lottery, this friendly waving. You see a car coming — OK, again on a street in a small town or a rural road or two-lane, lightly traveled highway. Because these are the most likely places you will either know the people in other cars or the traffic is light enough to have the time to wave and be waved at. So, you see a car coming and you buy your lottery ticket — and the ball drops. Your car, truck, bike, tractor, four-wheeler and theirs are coming closer and you focus on the driver’s seat of the other vehicle and your hand goes up and you wave and, and, and … winner! You are waved back at! Come on, it’s a little gratifying. You are acknowledged. Your existence has been met and given a fleeting stamp of approval. Really, isn’t that something that we are sometimes looking for? That agreed upon and accepted zing! Just by waving. How cool is that?
Here’s just one more choice you might give a second thought to. I might talk to a guy or gal who works at a fast food place — in the little window of the driveup. I realize the driveup was conceived as a quicker way to gobble and go, but quick doesn’t give license to be mean. This worker, I am sure, will tell me disgusting stories of cars and drivers. So in believing that, I give that moment in time when I hand over cash for food, that I am sure my doctor would cringe at if he could see me stuff it in my pie hole — sorry, slipped into burger-and-fries mode for a second. I give that moment of a meeting with the person at the window a smiling “Thanks!” Like it’s a wave as we pass. And you know what happens? I get that same smiling “wave” back. Not sometimes, but each and every time.
Choosing to throw a wave to a passing car is such a small flick of a hand, but it can be such a grand gesture. Just be sure to use all your fingers! Ha, ha! Happy waves are coming your way from behind windshields and they are from hands you will never touch, but ones you will always feel.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nev. Follow her on Face Book or share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really!