Standing in the driveway, waving goodbye

Something I’ve noticed since we arrived is the propensity of just about everyone we come into contact with to stand in their driveway and wave goodbye until our car has not only left their driveway but left their street entirely. I know it’s not an Australian thing because I’ve spent many goodbyes on my own driveways waving until the person turned a corner or watched as family or friends stood on the stoop waving until I was away.

I have a feeling, though, that Dan equates this behaviour with the same type of feeling he gets at the end of a theatre or music performance when the audience rises en masse to give an ovation. Every time this happens, Dan looks to me and asks, “Are we doing this?” It could have been an amazing opera performance at Lincoln Center or an uncomfortable and awkward high school play I had dragged him to – no matter the quality, he always has to ask. Because he does not like doing it.

We had a conversation the other evening when someone had just left the house. He had made a bee-line back into the house as soon as their car doors closed. I, on the other hand, hesitated. I felt like I should stay out on the driveway and wave. I was torn; he was not.

He said, “It’s so uncomfortable for the people in the car. Maybe they want to futz with the radio or mirrors, maybe they want to adjust their seatbelt or roll down windows. When we stand in the driveway, they feel like they need to slam the car into gear and get out of there as fast as they can. I figure I should give them their space.”

I, on the other hand, have no problem standing in the driveway while someone consults a map or tries to find her sunglasses. Perhaps that does make the person feel rushed. I’m just not sure what to do here.



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