The Nod

It's the unspoken form of communication that transcends all age, race, language, and walks of life. Walking down the halls at work, the nod is exchanged between myself, and people I've known for years - communicating with them through only this one gesture. It's community, commiseration, and greeting. The nod is a hello from the same homeless guys I bike past near the pedestrian bridge over the Metra tracks every morning on my way to work; we never have time to talk, but there is usually a smile and a nod to say 'good morning.'

What is the nod, and when did it start? It's clearly something I have developed with age. The nod doesn't seem to be the gesture of the youth, who scurry by, perhaps casting a furtive glance at you as they pass to see what you're all about. The nod is an activity that comes with the growing awareness that there are, indeed, other people out there who are worth acknowledging, whether you know them or not. The nod can serve as a surrogate form of laughter when it may not be appropriate to actually vocalize something - locking eyes with a stranger on the the el and trying not to let that smile that's creeping into your face turn into a burst of laughter while the person behind you is having a particularly loud and embarrassing conversation on her cell phone - the nod has it covered, bite your lip. The nod connects me to the handful of bikers I pass in the rain on my way home from work on a dreary Fall evening.
Hello, goodbye, thank you, I'd like to know you, I know what you're going through, good luck, I understand, take care.


julie said...

i'm a waver. but that makes me more likely to crash, i guess!

yeahdog said...

Yeah, I'm far too uncoordinated to try waving while I'm riding!