For quite a while, I've been waving at nearly everyone I meet while driving. It's not that I am trying to spread joy in the world because my behavior seems to cause more consternation than joy. It's more that I am interested in sampling the attitude of the region through which I am driving. I'm hoping for a wave back. I just give a little farmer wave--three or four fingers flick up on the hand on the top of the wheel. Sometimes when I can't get any waves back, I try both hands. Something about cars suppresses waving behavior. Perhaps cars diminish our regard for the Other. Notice how if one or both parties were in boats, everyone would be waving like idiots. I imagine conversations in the cars as they recede in my rear view mirror. "Ok, Debbie, who the hell was that?" "Was that one of those gang members, marking us for death? Was I supposed to flash my high beams? No, it's 'Don't flash your high beams'" "Looks like Bill got himself a new truck." Maybe the young women are thinking "Sexual harassment!" Maybe some of the men are thinking that too. In the morning, along Powerhouse Road in Yakima, no one ever waves back. These people are on their groggy morning commute. Reaction time too slow. On 97 over Satus Pass, no one ever returns a wave, but the closure rates at 70 mph are too high. On separated highways like I-84 through the Columbia Gorge, the on coming traffic is too far away to expect much notice. But I'm surprised how few wave backs I get on 821 through the Yakima Canyon. Maybe these drivers are all either looking at the hills for bighorns or looking at the water. Maybe they are all from out of town. Makes me feel as popular as a telemarketer sometimes. On highway 142 along the Klickitat, I've done a little better. I was whooping it up, honking the horn, when on one trip from Klickitat to Lyle this September, I got a return wave from the last possible car, giving me a response rate of 6 out of 12! But on the Goldendale to Glenwood road, not so good. Lots of out-of-towners during the fishing season, I guess. By far, the friendliest road that I have data on is 206 between Wasco and Condon. There's not a lot of traffic but some days I can get a 80% or higher response rate. Last time I drove it, some old boy in a big Dodge pickup beat me to the wave! These are the friendliest people in the country. Maybe I should move there. Next time you're driving along a river, and someone flashes a wave at you, give me a wave back.