Three bin men (Waste Disposal Operatives) in a truck, gave way to me as I drove home today. I thanked them with a thumbs up. A thumbs up. A real, enthusiastic thumbs up. Not just a flick of the thumb but a stiff, vertical thumb, thrust towards my windscreen – it wasn’t a thank-you-thumb, it was a thumb that said ‘Nice one, lads. Keep up the good work’.
If it were, for example, a middle aged woman – I would never give the same thumbs up. I wouldn’t even consider my thumb at all. Instead, I imagine I’d quif the steering wheel with my fingers – leaving my thumb out of sight. Reserved for specific situations.
Sometimes, especially if it is someone about my age, I don’t even acknowledge their kindness. Unless, of course, it’s a very attractive lady person. In that case, I run through every possible way to show appreciation for a “giving way” – I panic and either duck behind the dashboard or do them all, in some kind of gesture variety performance: Thumb flick, thumbs up, double thumbs, thumbs down?! Flash the headlights, wave, smile, finger flick and nod.
There’s a flipside too. When I give way to others, I glare, scratching their retinas with my eyes, waiting for their decision, hoping for something original, like pulling tongues. I don’t glare really, I merely glance, sometimes I get confused and end up thanking them! It’s such an awkward, unexplained part of driving. They’re should be a guide:
Waste Disposal Operatives – Big thumbs up.
Man/woman in suit – Raise index finger from steering wheel (almost as if to point at them).
Neighbour – Anything goes depending on mood. Ideally, a wave and smile.
Muscular man in 4×4 – Look down and speed up.
Just because somebody is in an identical car to yours, it doesn’t mean you have bonded – a thumb, nod, index finger or full extension of the fingers at the top of steering wheel, will do just fine.
I’m tired of it all and I haven’t even been driving for a year yet. I’m just not cool enough to know exactly what gesture, to give what person, at what time. To play it safe, next vehicle to give way is getting the finger – nobody’s perfect and I bet everybody, especially people who drive, deserve the finger now and then.