Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Landy Wave

The Landy Wave is a strange thing - and it fascinates non-Landy drivers to no end.

You see, if you drive a Landy, you are required to wave at other Landy drivers on the road. This can be done enthusiastically with big grins (as when two Series drivers cross paths), sedately and sophisticatedly (as when two men greet each other with the "man nod" - a dropping of the chin without too much smiling), or by raising a few fingers as you pass (which some reckon indicates the number of oil leaks on your vehicle to the other driver - in which case, some of us need to wave with our toes too).

But not every Landy driver seems to know the rule.

Anyone driving something newer than a 90's Defender seems to be immune to other Landy folk - or just plain stuck-up. Well, generally speaking. There are exceptions.

Then there are the 130 Double-Cab drivers - only one of whom has ever bothered to wave back, even though we're driving similarly kitted-out vehicles, with an apparent passion for the marque. But apparently not a passion for the Landy community.

There's the Disco and Freelander Moms - those who use their vehicles for kid-carry only, and who have probably never noticed that they're driving LAND ROVERS, or that some idiot in a Series III is trying to wave at them. In fact, I've only ever once had another woman wave at me...!

But I think I've figured out the problem with the non-wavers, and it's not just a single issue:

1. They may be first-time Landy owners who have no idea what the Wave Tradition is. They may simply have bought one because it serves their purpose or their image - without having a forgone passion for Land Rovers in general. (These may also be the blokes who sell them and buy Toyotas :-) ) It's a status vehicle or was a good idea at the time. There's no sense of history, and Landies definitely aren't part of the family.

2. Those new vehicles are very "cushy". You have a radio you can hear, you have soundproofing so the outside world and the engine bay don't intrude. You may have tinted windows - seperating you from the rest of the road users. You probably have comfortable seats and (dry) carpeting underfoot. So you're in your own little world, and simply don't notice passersby. Quite the opposite when you're not only trying to prevent deafness over engine noise, but going slowly enough to actually look at your surroundings as you drive.

3. It's much easier to notice a fellow-overlander with his pimped ride than a run-of-the-mill commute car - and sometimes those newer Landies do unfortunately fall into the latter category. Discos are a dime a dozen on the roads, but I have yet to see another Landy that looks like Olivia. Anywhere. She stands out, as do a few others I've seen around town, and those are the blokes who always wave.

4. There's the stuck-up problem. "I drive a better car so I'm not going to stoop to your level". This is a sure indicator that the driver is not a Landy Person, but merely a Landy Driver.

5. They could be having a bad day. Hey, it happens. You're distracted by the constant drip of rain on your accelerator foot, or you've had to push the beast out of a puddle when Lucas the Prince of Darkness struck your electrics, or you're simply concentrating really hard on maintaining your braking distance (a serious matter in most Landies). Not everyone starts to smile when they get in the driver's seat - and sometimes you'd rather be left in peace to mumble and grumble about your damn truck than acknowledge a happy Landy driver with not a care in the world.

But still - I think every Landy should come with the sticker at the top of this post, which a Landy group in the Netherlands (I think) has had printed up. Every new owner needs to be aware of the Landy Wave - before the Jeep blokes overtake us in friendliness, helpfulness and community spirit (yah.. right....).

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