Yes, this is still not a Europe recap. I’m sorry!
When I first bought my Mini Cooper back in 2007, I received a handbook instructing me how to act as a Mini owner, called the Unauthorized Owner’s Manual. The disclaimer in the front states, “This manual is not intended to help you understand the operation and maintenance of your motor vehicle. Rather, it is meant to provide you with invaluable information that would, under normal motoring conditions, take most MINI owners months to discover for themselves. Information has been painstakingly gleaned from many hours of vehicle operation.”
One of the first things this book tells you is that MINI owners do not obsess over the cleanliness of their cars. Which is something I’m good at doing, as washing my car really rarely crosses my mind. It states, “Maintain proper perspective. MINI owners do not irrationally obsess about such things. Bug guts on the grille and muddy fenders are signs of a healthy, well-motored life. Imagine it’s like tooling around town in an abstract painting.”
Continuing through, the book informs you how to make out properly in your car and tips on how to flirt at red lights.
But the real point of this post is on pages 26 and 28 of the manual. Page 26 states, “Dating back to MINI’s birth in the UK, there exists a time-honored tradition of owners greeting each other when they pass on the streets. The moment you first sat in your MINI, you became a member of the family. So, as is customary, try and refrain from acts of shyness, aloofness or woeful complacency. When you pass another MINI, say, ‘Hey.’” Page 28 has graphical representation of different waves you can do to other vehicles.
I was excited when I first read this. I like it when people wave to me. I dated an abundance of guys with Jeeps in 1999 and 2000, and they all taught me about the ‘Jeep wave’, so I was excited to have one of my own. And then I figured out: no one in this town follows the manual.
I was shy at first, so I was waiting for people to wave to me. But no one ever did. In the first year and a half of owning my car, literally the only other Mini owner who waved to me was my neighbor who lived three doors down and also had a Mini. I don’t know if this is because we both owns Minis or because we are neighbors. Maybe it’s both.
When I went to Europe, Mini Coopers were practically every third car, especially in Paris. I kept wanting to wave to them. Even the parked ones. But I would look like a fool, considering I was an American tourist walking around on foot. So I returned to the States with a new resolve to restart the Mini wave here in Nashville. Hence, Operation: MINI wave was born.
Except Minis are NOT every third car here. They are quite rare. And when I see them, they are on the wrong side of the road or in some other location that makes it impossible to wave to them. So I was a little disgruntled when I got back and could go for days without even seeing one of my own kind.
I performed my first successful wave yesterday to a guy in a white Mini on West End Ave. Rock on. (For the curious, we both partook in a Commoner Wave.) So Operation: MINI wave has officially begun. I will consider it a success when people start waving to me, without me waving first. I would also consider it a success if I get a certain local celebrity who drives a Mini to wave at me.
So, if you happen to be a local Mini driver, please do your part. Let’s be friendly car owners!