Diane Dean-Epps: Let’s all do the wave
The Waving Man, he lifts our spirits, our hearts and our hands.
“I love waving at random people, because you know for the rest of the day they’re trying to figure out who the heck you were.”
If you drive down Dog Bar Road, then you’ve been privileged to experience the joy that is the Waving Man, who lightens our day, every day.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t have to tell you. It’s been dark. But isn’t that always what makes you notice — and appreciate — the light so much more? And this guy is the very personification of lightness.
We call him Waving Man, but he’s so much more than that. Truth be told, he’s a one-man cheer squad single-handedly lifting the spirits, hearts and hands of at least 200 people every day he hits the road.
At first, I have to admit, I felt a little weird raising my hand in greeting to a total stranger. I looked around to see if he was actually signaling me that his car was over by the side of the road broken down and he needed assistance.
Nope. No car. Maybe it was a case of mistaken identity. Nope. He was looking right at me, happily acknowledging our shared moment together on that well-traveled country road.
Now I happily wave at him with so much enthusiasm I resemble one of those wacky tube air dancers you see advertising so many fine products, most notably making their homes on car lots.
Sometimes he’s wearing a backpack, sometimes he’s wearing a hat, sometimes he seems to make a longer trek down the road, and other times it seems to be a shorter jaunt.
Initially when I noted these small things, I became concerned that one of the behaviors my pandemic life deeded over to me was perhaps an unhealthy fixation on what other people are doing. Was I now a busybody?
Then one day someone posted on our neighborhood Facebook page, asking if anyone had seen the Waving Man. Dozens of people weighed in on how happy his simple act of waving made them. As it turned out, there had been a spotting, so he was fine. Score one for the positive power of social media.
In a short period of time we have grown to rely upon his buoyant presence, looking forward to that exact moment when we’ll wave in tandem. That’s when I realized I’m not a busybody, I’m a “carebody,” as are all of the other Waving Man fans. We’re tracking his whereabouts because he matters to us. We see him, and he sees us.
There are many stories circulating about how Waving Man came to be, but none of it matters. What does matter is he’s there, never wavering — getting us to connect — to him, to each other, to our shared experience. Now, that’s a powerful brand of friendly.
So, join me, won’t you? Let’s all do the wave. You don’t even need to be traveling on Dog Bar, or on any road at all. Ready?
Diane Dean-Epps lives in Grass Valley.
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“You’ve heard me say this before: Every acre can and will burn someday in this state” — Cal Fire Director Thom Porter.