Ashley E. Kingsley

The Colorado Wave

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm

medium_colorado_wave.3In Lakewood, where I grew up, my world consisted of the dirt road that led to vacant fields. There were no strip malls or stop lights. I use to ride my stellar pink Huffy up and down the road and the neighbors would wave as I blew by on what I thought to be my pink rocket ship.

As kids, we were allowed to wander the neighborhood. We went from house to house, refrigerator to pantry, game to Atari game. We were all friends and everyone in the neighborhood knew each other. Neighbors spoke, sang Christmas carols and always had time for one another.

My family moved to Del Mar, CA when I was 12 years old. I felt very detached from my roots in Denver. The neighbors didn’t talk to one another and kids didn’t roam. It wasn’t cool to ride a pink Huffy in Del Mar, or fish, or play kick- the- can. Part of this was adolescents, more of it was culture.

I really missed Colorado. I missed the mountains, the sunsets, the down-to-earth people and the neighbors. I missed fishing, getting muddy, the dirt roads, the afternoon showers and the blue, blue sky.

When I came HOME to Denver in 2001 I noticed a lot had changed. There were strip malls where I use to play soccer and ride my bike and condos where I would fish and ice skate.

I was glad to be home, though adjusting to the changes took time. I can deal with the strip malls and the Wal-Marts because I don’t have control over multi-billion dollar corporations. But there is ONE thing I really miss. The ‘Colorado Wave.’

It used to be, no matter what, when driving in Denver, people waved. People waved when they switched lanes they waved when they passed by in their car. People waved if they were taking longer to park than anticipated. People just waved. The wave was a symbol; a silent but clear hello, thank you or good afternoon. I have never seen the wave anywhere else. What it signifies to me is that we are all in this together and we are all part of Colorado. That we are all neighbors… and we do care.

If you remember the wave, which some of you do, reinstate it. If you don’t know what the wave is… just start doing it… and you will be amazed. I think the WAVE really needs to be revitalized. It is a soft hello, a thank you; a small but powerful recognition of one another.

Don’t forget to wave….pass it on.

  1. Ashley,
    I agree. Take the time to gesture as a token expression in the situations you’ve mentioned – or for no reason at all. It’s too easy to get caught up in the thick of thin things (e.g., that pressing appointment, that incomplete task, that phone or email reply…). This has been facilitated in recent years through cell phones, BlackBerries, etc.
    And, while I enjoy productivity and technology as much as the next person, I enjoy people even more.
    Thanks for your post!

  2. Hey Ash,

    That’s so cool. I do the Colorado wave, but didn’t realize that others don’t — I mean, I wave whether I’m in NY or Boston or Seattle or SF.

    But you’ll be happy to know that my oldest is now driving; and just the other day, when another driver let her into a lane ahead of them, she did the Colorado wave — which I guess she picked up from her mom.

    The Colorado Wave lives!

    Great post.


  3. Love this! I’m a native and I always wave.

  4. I love the wave. I’m waving at you right now, can you tell!?


  5. We used to have “the wave” in my one-stoplight town in Michigan. I used to wave at everyone and felt completely snubbed when I got glares in return. Even today when people pass me in the alley behind my house, I wave and there is not a single wave back! Are people just too busy?

  6. Ashley, having traveled the country this year I can tell you that I do see the wave. I see it in small towns (small, like 78 ppl small). I see it on islands. I see it in the plains states. I was taught to wave. I do it at crosswalks, changing lanes what have you. I always feel bummed when someone does not wave back. I guess I feel like it is a missed conection. Thanks for writing and perhaps restarting the wave. 🙂

  7. I love when you get the return wave! I have lived in Denver all my life and know old neighbors that still sit on their porch on a semi-busy street and just wave to anyone looking their way. I no longer take this simple gesture for granted, because the more condensed our city becomes, the less likely it is that people on the street even make eye contact. Thank you for acknowledging this small delight!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: