We’ll wave to anybody for any reason at any time.
If we’re driving, then it’s just a one-finger wave over the top of the steering wheel (this is perhaps what we’re best known for). We even wave to each other at night – in the dark – when we’re not at all sure who’s out there.
And it’s not like we have to know each other. Tourists, bikers, backpackers, even vagabonds with cardboard signs… we wave to everybody.
We once waved to a bank robber heading out of town after pulling a stick-up.
Now, there’s nothing really wrong with all this waving. Well, okay. It’s a little obsessive-compulsive. But other than that…
The real question is: why?
One answer might be found in the almanac which puts the population of North Dakota around 600,000. That’s everybody. The whole state. And most of those live in the east, out around Fargo. By the time you get to western North Dakota, where Beach is (smack on the Montana state line), there are more fence posts than people.
It stands to reason, then, that when we do encounter one another… we get kind of excited. It’s a big deal.
“Hey, there’s Harold, my neighbor!” In fact, if Harold and I then drive in opposite directions and meet on the other side of the street, we’ll wave again.
Now, Allen Greenspan would call this kind of behavior “irrational exuberance.” But what does he know?
Besides, I think something like this can be put to practical use. What would happen, let’s say, if the next U.S. Ambassador to North Korean was someone from Beach?
Now, there’s a picture. North Korea meets North Dakota. Kim Jong Il and the Beach ambassador passing everyday on the way to work. Tell me that wouldn’t ease world tensions.
Jerry DeMartin operates Prairie Fire Pottery, a small handmade pottery shop in Beach, North Dakota.