Posted by: Deb Henry | 09/15/2009

Doing the wave for JJJ

How to have a fabulous morning:

Promise Jennifer J. Johnson to help her with her District 3, SLC council primary, election day early-morning-wave. Get up before the sun comes out. Stand on the corner of I street and South Temple with a dog, wearing a campaign t-shirt, plant several lawn signs and sport a giant green umbrella. Attempt to make contact and wave at each car individually while smiling broadly.

One of my pet-peeves about Utah is the lack of eye contact between strangers that pass each other. I’ve decided that because eye-contact is something I desire and like, I will stare and smile at people until they realize that everyone looking at them is not trying to judge them, they just want to know them for a fraction of a second. I’m not going to look down at my shoes if I want eye contact. I should at least give them the option, right?

It was 7am by the time I was out actually waving, and people were headed to work. I kept trying to predict who would wave and realized it’s not predictable because everyone is different. Sometimes I forget that in Utah.

Priuses and Hummers waved at me alike. Some older people waved, some didnt. Some college students waved, some didn’t. Introverts would look away 3 times before finally managing a wave and half-smile. Kids waved. Kids looked away. Human beings pretended like they didn’t see me. Dogs barked at me. A few safe drivers didn’t make eye contact but managed a wave. People driving stick slowed down just enough to be able to take their hand off the shifter and wave…some didnt. There were full arm waves and smiles and eye contact and then there were also nods and 2-finger waves. People waved at me like they were tapping their fingers and like they were cleaning a window. There was diversity abounding if you looked for it.

I really felt bad for the people who wouldn’t wave…or the kids who were not even 6 yet, that would avoid eye contact with me completely. It was exhilarating to get a smile and a wave back from a complete stranger. Eye contact is so rewarding and personal.

As usual, something completely random made me miss NYC. I wonder what would happen if you tried the following video in a mall in SLC? I recommend going to the Improv Everywhere website below and reading what the participants felt about their experience with this activity….they have quite similar emotions to what I went through…




  1. Deb!

    Wish I HAD BENEFITED from having you smile and wave at me.

    I still need to submit MY blog on this topic. As usual, you crack, half-my-age, twice my wit whip, you–YOU BEAT ME!

    Let me know when I can smile and wave FOR YOU… FOR US in SLC and NYC! 😉

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