The Wave Experiment

I’ve been running a little experiment.

When I’m walking down a street – not a big city street, but a small residential one – and a car passes, I’ll wave.

I’ve got no skin in the game if the driver waves back or not. I don’t know her or him. They don’t wave, I haven’t lost anything but a wrist turn. But if they do, that’s kind of great, isn’t it?

Now, how many folks do you think wave back? Maybe 10%? 50%?

I’ll tell you, in the weeks I’ve been running this experiment, over 90% of drivers wave back.

And my favorite is when there are a few cars right after another. Maybe the second car sees me wave at the first and thinks I know the driver. Then I wave at the second car and I could be fooling myself, but I’m pretty sure those second cars tend to be the biggest waves I get.

So here’s the thing I love about this wave experiment: it makes me feel a little more connected to folks, like we’re part of something together. Even if it’s just one moment on a residential street.

I can easily incline myself towards disconnection and judgment, which leaves me with a sense of righteousness. But it’s the things, however small, that move us closer together which leave me with a sense of meaning.

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