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The Eastern New Mexico Wave

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

From urban Colorado to rural eastern New Mexico -- I can tell you that's a lot of transitioning. One of the strangest things we encountered as new country people was "the wave".

We never saw "the wave" in Colorado. We never see it in big cities, not even in little towns. But rural eastern New Mexico? Oh, yeah!

You wave to people as you pass them in their fields, You wave from your field. You especially wave at oncoming vehicles while driving on the road. It has become common place for us to perform "the wave" now, too. But, it wasn't always so...

The first time someone waved at us as we drove along the road, I turned to the kids and asked nervously, "Did you see that? Did they just wave at us? Why'd they wave? Who were they?" And of course there were no good answers!

The second time the wave happened, I said, "They DID wave at us! Who are they? Do they want us to stop? Is there something wrong with the car?" But the truck kept going on. Huh. We didn't stop.

At the third wave, I pulled the car over, had everyone get out and look for whatever must be wrong with the vehicle. Maybe something fell off. Did we run something over? Nothing! Well, that's odd! Where we came from people did not randomly wave at others. A wave there means "GET OFF THE ROAD!" or "Pull over, Pull over, Your front wheel is about to fall off!"

Next wave, I pulled off to the side, inspected the vehicle, the road...still nothing. This was ridiculous! We couldn't keep pulling over for nothing!

So, I tried a tentative little wave. Did I know the person? Absolutely not. Was it awkward? Oh, yes! But it was a little fun. So the next time, I was prepared! I waved like my hand needed cooling off!

After that we just practiced and practiced -- every vehicle we came to. My kids waved! We took turns waving! We all waved at once! We tried out the beauty queen in a parade wave, the slow fan back and forth, the finger flutter, the wild ecstatic burst for a long lost friend.

Then I really got to looking and observing how it's done. I hadn't realized there was a technique, a finesse to the wave.

As you are approaching another truck (cars may wave, but trucks are pretty much a guarantee), you quickly move your hands from wherever they are on the steering wheel to positions 9 and 12. The hand at 12 must be ready to just lift the fingers up and hold that form until the other truck is past, maybe wiggle a slight saluting motion, but certainly not necessary. And that's the rural eastern New Mexico wave!

We've never met so many friendly people!

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