We’ve all played this game at some point. It’s quite easy. There’s a child in the back seat of a car that waves to the drivers of the other cars. So, if you are a driver and a child waves at you, well, what do you do? You smile and wave back. Simple enough? And of course, you make the child very happy and for a moment you find yourself smiling at the little things.
I recently played this game except I wasn’t waving to a child in the backseat of a car, it was a child in the backseat of a school bus. Invariably, I was running late to work and I was stuck behind the big yellow weeny. As I was fumbling at my situation the bus in front of me stopped and a little girl got on. She walked towards the very back, saw me, smiled, waved, and sat down. I waved back of course, and I thought that was the end of this game.
She was seated and talking to 2 of her other friends who also happened to be girls, but I was convinced there was no more smiling or waving to be had. They were probably discussing the start of school, their teachers, the American Girl Doll, I don’t know. I can only speculate. OK. Probably not talking about the doll because they weren’t smiling. They looked quite serious actually, like they were discussing an issue, a problem maybe. I kept my eyes focused on them – and the road – and just continued on. And then it happened.
Two of the girls looked back at me and stared. There was no smile and no wave. Just a serious look. I wasn’t sure why they were staring. Perhaps they wanted to make sure they could identify me to the police. I was clueless but I figured I didn’t do anything wrong. At that moment, I decided to change the outcome, and so I decided to play again. I smiled big and waved. As though caught off guard, they smiled back and waved. The first little girl was now smiling and waving again. The stranger or the problem they were talking about, was perhaps no longer a problem. Maybe this woman who smiled and waved at the children had no ill intent other than to share a moment in time and space with a smile and a wave.
On the back left corner of the bus a head turned. It was a little boy who turned around to see who was causing all this commotion. He looked at me very disinterested and put up his first two fingers in a V. I smiled and reciprocated. Peace to you too! He just turned around and went right back to sleep. I continued to wave at the girls as the bus turned. We continued to wave, til I drove past.