My city and neighborhood are both relatively small, and the neighborhood falls along the lower end of the economic spectrum. People live close together, and many destinations are easily accessible by bus or on foot.
It's not unusual, as I drive the streets around my home, to encounter pedestrians. They often stroll along right in the middle of the road. They'll look over their shoulders, see my car approaching, and then casually move along to the side so I can pass. Sidewalks are available, but rarely used, because they're narrow, and often obstructed by trees, trash, or shrubbery.
In any case, as I drive past, I'll wave. Mind you, I don't make eye contact when I wave, and don't check to see if the person waved back. I'm too busy watching the road for other cars, additional pedestrians, and runaway pets or children. I just lift the flat of my palm into the air (i.e. no individual fingers protruding...). Here's what the wave means:
- I see you
- You see me
- Thanks for moving aside
- I mean you no harm
- I will not run you over
- You live around here and so do I, so we're all in this [whatever "this" means] together.
Here's what my wave does NOT mean:
- I am desperately looking for a new best friend, and you're it!
- I can't wait to hear all about your troubles and misfortunes.
- I have lots of extra money and cannot wait to give it all to you!