Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Farmer Nod

I grew up in a farming community. My Dad farmed, our neighbours farmed, our friends farmed; most of the people you would encounter driving down the road were farmers. This was not lucrative farming, though. Most of them had another job too, which meant that they worked pretty much all the time. From chores before dawn to an eight-hour shift somewhere to bringing in the hay long after dark, these guys knew hard work. I attribute the standard form of greeting that I grew up seeing to this. When these folks passed one another they didn't wave (hands probably busy) or say "Hello", (probably loud machinery running) what they did was what I affectionately refer to as "the farmer nod". It looks like this: compress your lips, almost smiling but not; dip your head down a small amount and back up, one time, quickly; maintain eye contact. This is done all together at lightning speed, like a reflex. This is a very efficient and very effective form of greeting among farmers, and I have learned it instinctively. This is how I greet people all over the place whether I'm walking, biking, running, whatever. The problem is, I no longer live in the farming community. People don't seem to understand that what I am doing should be considered a friendly gesture. Instead they seem to think that I'm some sort of lunatic with an uncontrollable tick. I'm trying to remember to wave or say "hello", but the farmer nod does not want to be shaken. I just hope I can retrain my brain before someone decides to have me locked up.

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