We're accustomed to not being recognized by other motorists "out there" for our efforts to keep others safe. When we pass by another transit employee, it's customary to give a friendly wave. Unless we're busy, most operators and other transit workers observe this time-honored tradition. I even give a "thank you" wave to motorists who stop on my Yield signal and allow me back into traffic. It beats the obscene gesture others usually flash me.
Our ladies have the most creative waves. There's what I call the "beauty queen" wave, where they pivot their hand at the wrist and add a sweet smile. Some reserve this for folks they know, opting to use the common "swath in front of the wheel" wave for others.
Another one of my favorites is the "big wave out the window". If you don't know the driver, you wonder if it's a desperate plea to "come drive this thing for me willya I need a break". The most common I see is the nonchalant "hiya brother" half-salute. Or the wave from inside the driver window that means either "whatever, dude" or "oh yeah hello to you too, I guess".
Then there are those who see you wave, but look right through you as if you don't exist. No wave there. If they're close enough you can see the accompanying eye roll. It's kind of disheartening. But then again, not everyone who drives a transit vehicle is having the best of days. I give them a pass, because usually the next time you see them they at least give you a half-hearted one. If they never wave at all, so be it. I'm a big boy.
Sometimes I'm guilty of failure to wave. If I'm having a truly rotten day, it's hard to even acknowledge my passengers as they board. Seeing a sad puppy dog look from a waver to whom I fail to return the gesture is usually enough to snap me out of it. They don't deserve the bad vibes I'm feeling. On the return trip, I'll be sure to at least single out the one(s) I ignored with an exaggerated makeup wave.
Oftentimes my beloved will catch me waving at bus operators when I'm driving our car. "Roopsie, long day," il say. "But I know that gal!" She'll remind me they can't see me on the down low.
One driver I know gave me a puzzled look when I asked him why he didn't wave back one day. "I didn't know it mattered all that much," he said. Later that afternoon as I drove by him downtown as we waited to do his road relief, he gave me an exaggerated double wave with his customary dry-wit sardonic half smile. It was hilarious, but also a signal to me: it's no biggie, get over it.
A few drivers out there are so green they are more focused on scanning and being careful than waving. That's okay. I'd rather they get a feel for safely guiding "the beast" with two hands than acknowledging me. They have to successfully pass probation without a scratch or a dent, and I'm past that.
I appreciate all my brothers and sisters out there. We do a tough job. When I wave at them, I'm showing respect. To my more senior brothers and sisters, I sometimes shoot them a salute. It's not mandatory, nor is it expected. It is nice, though. Thanks!