There’s this guy who waves at every passing motorist as he walks to and from his job moving boxes around at the Coralville Hy-Vee. He’s been doing it for years and age is beginning to take over the deepening creases in his face. But it doesn’t dim his smile as he waves at every car he can.
He has to cross the street to and from the store parking lot. When the light changes to green he hustles across. His work apron flaps a little. That’s the only time he doesn’t wave. After he’s safely on the other side of the street, he starts waving and smiling.
We figure he walks to and from wherever he lives. We never could figure out where home is for him. It’s hard to see how he ever makes his destination as often as he stops to wave at all of us driving by.
When we lived in the neighborhood and as I was driving to work and driving home, I would wave back—as I kept my eyes fixed on the road ahead of me.
Every once in a while, I’ll google various questions framed around the term “waving man.” I’ll find occasional news items about a waving man in some city. Nobody ever complains about the waving man and most find him to be the bright spot in the day. There’s never an explanation for this behavior, scientific or otherwise. It’s just accepted for what it is—a generous greeting, wishing you well.
When times are good, the waving man is out there. And when times are bad; when the pain and sorrow and loss are overwhelming—the waving man is there.