The Last Word on Life at the Lake: Wave If You See Me, I’ll Do the Same

Of all the charming aspects of lake life, one of my favorites is that everyone waves to each other all the time. It’s normal and expected to see a lot of waving people whenever you go out on a boat. It’s like everyone is saying, “Hey, I’m on a boat too! Hello!” Everyone out there on a boat is having a good time. And if not, they’re waving to make sure you see them and don’t run into each other.

The waving traditions here that surprised me are all off the lake. Most people nearby all wave to each other whenever they see someone on our road. My friend Nate came down from Wisconsin for a visit just after we moved in and he noticed too, “It’s so nice here, everyone waves to each other on your street.”

I live on one long street that runs the length of a peninsula, so the only people who tend to come down here are the local residents, a few delivery people, and the lawn maintenance crews. You ride your bike or walk up and down the street enough times, you start to recognize people, or at least their cars.

The people you see the most are the two mail ladies, and they have their waves on lock down. One gives a big smile and a wave no matter how many times you ride your bike past her on the road, and the other, who’s driving her car from the passenger seat so she can reach the mailboxes, gives you a friendly wave without ever taking her hand off the wheel.


The biggest mutual waves on the road tend to happen when two people are doing the same thing. One guy on a bike passes another and they’re always friendly. It’s this whole, “Hey look at us, we’re in this together!” vibe happening. The same can be said for dog walkers taking their pups out in the morning, the late afternoon joggers, and few people who live nearby and seem to have recently gotten really into Rollerblading. The people mowing their lawns or the road shoulders with their zero turn mowers can’t wave because they need to keep both hands on the controls, so they nod as you pass by.

The only people who don’t wave are the occasional construction workers who must have come in from out of state and the guy who lives at the end of my road and drives a sports car. I’m actually glad that guy keeps both of his hands on the wheel since he’s always speeding.


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