I live in a small town. When I’m driving down the road, I wave to just about everyone I pass, because chances are I know them. I also tend to wave to everyone anyway, but here in town — I’m less likely to offend someone if I wave at everyone.
Today, however, I almost killed an elderly man on a bicycle. I was driving into the office to fix the school’s Internet connection. I passed a man, I’m guessing in his 80s, on a bicycle. Friendly guy that I am, I smiled and waved. This man grew up in a time that manners were actually taught. Decades of domestic training in standard etiquette prompted him to lift his hand and wave back. And at that moment, I thought I might kill an old guy.
He lifted his hand and waved, but lost balance and started to veer away from me and toward the ditch. He instinctively corrected, but too far, and lurched his vehicle directly in front of mine. We managed to avoid each other, but I think the generation gap was closed when we both had to go home and change our pants.
Note to self: Nod to old people on bicycles, don’t wave.