Friendliness is my nature. This is such a deep instinct that I’m always the one saying hello when I pass people in public. In Vienna, when you say hello to strangers, sometimes they cross the street. In Istanbul, sometimes they follow you off the train. In Hastings, Nebraska, they say hello back. In each new place, it may be hit or miss.
Sitting in a big Chevy truck on the open roads in Kansas, I delight in the expansive skies and the tidy rows for planting. And I uncover many a mute hello. I am perched on the receiving end of acknowledgement, greetings, and well wishes from oncoming traffic. The “farm finger”–either the pointer finger or sometimes the first two fingers–raised in a quick salute to other trucks. The farmers offer a gesture of hello, sometimes accompanied with an automatic and barely visible nod of the head. I hear the nod is for someone you know, and “the point” is for general good will. These are automatic, my farming sources tell me.