I think it was a Wednesday.  It was certainly a Big Day.  A day with the usual 24 hours but also one with a strange event that became life changing.  Let me take you back to the day I picked up the bus.  There down along the shore.  Brighton shore.  It began in the distance as something just catching my eye.  I was drawn to it.  Not quite fixated, but curious.  It was aimed at me and coming to get me.  I wasn’t expecting it.  I was confused.  It got nearer and nearer.  Closer and closer.  Bigger and bigger.  And then it hit me head on.  My first BIG WAVE!  MY BIG WEDNESDAY! [1]

I was half expecting the wave to be accompanied by some sort of warning like “Hey Mister, you’re wheel’s just fallen off”. 

When you get your first wave you’re not really sure what to do with it.  Do you wave back?  Do you ignore them?  I mean, let’s face it.  Why would a stranger give you a wave?  Did they mistake me for someone else?  Nah.  Not unless they were expecting Jim Carrey in town.  Did I feel uneasy?  Aside from the broken spring trying to make my ride uncomfortable, I don’t think I did.  I think I felt a sense of inner warmth and pride.  Someone I don’t know had given me a wave – not a big wavey “Hey, over here!” kind of wave.  It was more of a knowing wave.  One of acknowledgement.  One that suggested we were in on something.  In some sort of gang[2].  That must be it.  That was it.  We had joined a gang.  A VW Campervan gang.  It was a cool wave and that meant we must have become accepted into a cool gang.  Man, were we cool.  Cooler than a cucumber.  Cooler than custard and cooler than mustard.  We were the coolest thing you could be.  A cucumber served with mustard custard. [3]

So what is this wave?  We didn’t really get used to the Wave until we did our first road trip[4] down the 303 to V&C’s.  The rules are simple.  If you pass a VW Campervan then give them a wave.  The real wave dudes do it without their hands really leaving the steering wheel.  You see it, but their hands haven’t really moved.  Just a slight intonation of a wave.  It’s a sort of wave that says ‘I see ya & I’m given ya some kind of VW respect, but don’t take this as some sign we’re best mates.  I’m gone on the wind.’ 

Some wave dudes make their fingers on one hand into a sort of double V shape that’s supposed to be a Double-U (W) with the other hand giving a straight V.  Put them together and you get a kind of clenched fist VW wave.  I tried it and nearly crashed.  It’s like trying to do that Star Trek thing with your fingers which we all know requires the powers of concentration only held by a Jedi Knight.  Come on Fingers… make the sign…

The real wave dudes generally all look the same.  They look like they’ve been behind the wheel since the sixties.  40 year veterans of VW ownership etched onto their weather beaten aging hippy face.  They all look a bit like that Asterix the Gaul character with big full faced blonde/grey moustaches.   That’s what 40 years of eating mustard custard does to your hair.  Turns it yellow. 

We’re not sure of the wave etiquette yet.  Does the passenger wave too?  Do we wave to Type II owners only or do we include the more modern Type IVs?  It would be rude not too, but then the newer buses just aren’t the same are they? 

And who waves first?  There’s nothing worse than giving a wave and not getting one back.  That just makes you feel stupid.  A good wave is synchronised with a wave back. 

Our Bongo mates have told us that Bongos give each other a wave.  Presumably they do a little kind of drum-roll with their fingers on the steering wheel which would be more fitting of a Bongo.  For the more extravagant Bongo driver you could do the full Phil Collins signature drum roll thing ending with a high five style smash onto your side window just as pass the other Bongo.  Obviously you’d need a half mile run up to fit it in but I reckon it would look good.  Endless fun. 

I think I said the Wave was life changing.  Not really, but it does make you smile.  It’s like being giving a smile for free.  VW Buses.   It’s all about waves.

[1]    I’ve only seen the film once.  Big Wednesday that is.  Read more here, Big Wednesday (1978).  It had that bloke from Airwolf in it.  I remember it being good.  Probably best not to watch it again in case it’s rubbish.  A bit like the ‘Airwolf’ probably’. 

[2]    I was going to use the word Club instead of Gang.  But a Club sounds wet.  A club is what you do after school or after the age of 60.  To join a gang on the other hand means you need to have credentials.  And I mean credentials beyond being a Chess Campion, a Dungeons & Dragons demon or a Cribbage Legend.  Shear presence and unspoken talents are what you need to be in a Gang.  So Gang it is. 

[3]    My friend’s tell me there’s a fine line between being cool and being a tool.  I’m not sure what they mean, but I do know that Custard can also be served hot.  Piping hot served with Sticky Toffee pudding – now we’re talking.  Mustard, generally speaking, is supposed to be hot.  The hotter the better.  Unless you’re after that poncy burger mustard – that ain’t cool for sure.  Cucumber is normally served cold.  Mustard Custard, by the way, that’s my idea.  You saw it here first. 

[4]    Road Trip?  It was just a drive down the road.  I think I’m slightly deluded.


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