Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E (Week 34): Election Sign Waving

When I was twelve or so, my best friend and I decided to stand on a busy street corner and wave at passers-by. The goal, as I remember, was to see how many people waved back. We fancied ourselves to be amateur sociologists. My mother did not agree—for reasons that are obvious to me now—and put a stop to it.

Until last week, that was my only street-corner-waving experience. But when my tennis-watching friend Michelle invited me to join her in an hour of political-sign-waving, I agreed. In all honesty, if she had asked me to make calls or ring doorbells, I would have politely refused. But I figured that even I could handle the task of holding a sign and waving at folks as they drove by.

My location was the southwest corner of Prospect and College. Without fanfare, I staked out my territory and got down to business. I thought that I might feel silly and conspicuous, at least to begin with, but I was too concerned with managing my sign in the wind, which was gusty enough to be troublesome. I worried that the sign would be blown from my grasp and out into traffic, where it would—naturally—scratch up a passing Cadillac/BMW/police cruiser/Hell’s Angel/angry Rottweiler.

I was also afraid that I would be incapacitated by a foreign object under my contact lens, that someone would douse me with a caramel latte, or that the hypnotically graceful motion of my arm would cause a driver to become distracted and run me over. I’m happy to report that the worst thing that happened was when I stepped on my own shoelace (rookie mistake) and had to retie my shoe. Michelle’s story of once being mooned at that corner is way more interesting.

Using the hand that was not clutching the sign in a death grip, I waved at everyone—plumbers, dog poop scoopers, altogether too many people on cell phones, the Transfort bus, semi-truck drivers, and a New Mexico Game and Fish Biologist. A couple of times, I kind of zoned out and waved at the light pole. I confess that I did not wave with complete impartiality—I gave an extra-happy wave to anyone with a big dog in his or her car.



Some ‘wavees’ scowled, some smiled, and I saw many resolute ‘I-know-you’re-there-but-I’m-not-going-to-look-at-you’ faces. But I had a few successes. One guy gave me the coveted thumbs-up/horn-honk combo, and the little boy who smiled and waved at me from his carseat flat-out made my day. The hour passed pretty quickly, and I came away with a new respect for all the dedicated sign-wavers of the world. I am definitely going to wave back more often.



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

My kids always love tax season because you will find the Statue of Liberty all over town waving her (or his) hand, blowing bubbles, directing traffic - they get SO excited about waving out the window to them. I hate to confess it, but I usually pull the "Please don't look me in the eye, please don't look me in the eye" look, and hide behind the rear view mirror. Glad I have the kids to divert their attention, they wave so excitedly and yell "HI" to everyone! Thanks Jenny, I'm going to start coming out from behind the rear view mirror and at least smile - maybe even throw in a wave or two! :)

Mjohnston

April Moore said...

What a funny post, Jenny! (I can also relate to the fear of a foreign object in my contact lens). I don't know if I could be an election-sign-waver, so I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience!

Cricket McRae said...

I smiled as soon as I saw your "E" post title and didn't stop the whole time I read. Nice job out there, battling wind and dodging cell phone talking drivers. You've inspired me to wave back more often, too.

Holly Ruggiero said...

That’s the cutest story of the day!

Yeah, what’s wrong with waving to completely strangers on a street corner when you a little kid? Your poor mom.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Jenny said...

Thanks for your comments. Glad to know I've inspired a little more waving out there in the world!