Gimme my thank you wave, bitch!

Living in a different country and getting the chance to interact more with the locals, rather than just see the selective sites and bugger off happily back to your home country, you get a chance to see the more nuanced differences in their culture to your own. It’s easy to just assume that people in another western country are going to be like your own countrymen, that they will behave more or less in the same way, and that the differences are going to be more in the location and language than the culture. We binge watch the same shows! So I expected that Americans in the south would be like Australians, except with a different accent, pumpkin pie, guns and God. Not so.


An example – merging etiquette.


In Australia, if someone slows down to let you merge in front of them, you give the thank you wave. Doesn’t have to be much, just a raise of the hand so they can see it through your back window (it’s also handy to mollify someone you’ve cut in front of by pretending to be grateful to them for “letting” you in). And if you don’t, 9 times out of 10 I would guess that the most generous, let-you-merge-in-er, is put out that you didn’t acknowledge their grand gesture of generosity. You start looking out for that wave once you’ve let someone cut in.


Thank you wave 2


The merging thank you wave doesn’t seem to be a thing in East Tennessee. It’s one of those behaviors you believe are the case everywhere, because you haven’t lived anywhere that doesn’t happen. Because you’ve only lived in one country before. You just take for granted that it is human rather than cultural.


So I ask you now, Tennessee – where’s my fucking thank you wave?! Where’s the acknowledgment that I had to momentarily apply the brakes? Where’s the gratitude? I know you can do politeness; I’ve seen you be super polite in so many situations, what with your pleases and thank yous and helpfulness and calling me Ma’am. I want my wave, damn you!


Thank you wave


 It’s almost as if you think that it’s not a big deal for me to do that or something, and not deserving of a lavish social reward!

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I am an Aussie currently enjoying my time as a non-resident legal alien in the US. You can find me on Facebook and I have also just started lurking around Twitter and  Instagram. Come lurk with me!


  1. Just saw this post in your archives and it struck a chord with me. That is one of my pet peeves. I’m a pretty courteous driver and I routinely let people merge in front of me. Unless they are one of those that know the lane is coming to an end and ride it out to the very end, fuck those guys. But for the ones that are coming on to the interstate or need to get in my lane to reach their destination, no problem. Come on over. But you better give me some type of god damn acknowledgement! Just a quick flip of the hand is all I need. But I NEED to know you appreciated it. If you don’t give me my due then I usually scream out the window “No thanks needed!” Of course meaning that thanks IS totally needed!

    P.S. I’m stealing that most interesting man meme to put on my face book page.

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