You can drive in the outback for hours and not see another soul … well, except for those roadtrains, and the odd kangaroo or emu. So out here, drivers are (mostly) very collegiate, and give each other a wave when they pass.
I used to envy Doc this when we were travelling, because as a passenger you don’t get to do the waving. At least not if you’re over 10 years old! As the cars approach from opposite ends of the road, the drivers casually lift a finger, or two, or three, off the steering wheel in silent acknowledgement that they’re blokes in this together. Real Aussie bushies.
This time, as the driver, I get to do the waving. So I watch and wait expectantly as a car comes at us from out of the distance. The wait can be agonizing, and long, especially on long straight stretches of road when you see oncoming traffic miles away. But then the car gets closer, and closer, and at the appropriate distance I casually and nonchalantly raise 2 fingers. I act as if I couldn’t care if they waived back or not, but I do, and it’s been very disappointing. Not many people have waved back.
Between Nyngan and Cobar only one person waved. Though he did make up for all the others lack of response. He waved so madly it was like he actually knew me and was so excited to see me after such a long absence. Of perhaps he was just shooing away a fly.
I don’t want to play the feminist card here and suggest that people don’t wave to me because I’m a woman, though I have noticed that women are less likely to wave so it might have something to do with it. So I’m going to pick on the car. It’s because I’m not driving a Toyota isn’t it!
It doesn’t matter that I have a high clearance, big arse, black ute. It’s just not a Toyota.
When Doc & I were in the Territory, and waiting those last, long, minutes until the creek was low enough to cross, a bloke on the other side decided he’d waited long enough and was coming across. We all watched him as he drove into the raging water, too fast. The bonnet lifted, and he was gone – washed off the courseway and down stream.
“What did he expect?” asked the local standing next to us “It’s just a car”
It was a big, heavy 4WD vehicle but it wasn’t a Toyota, and in the Outback unless it’s a Toyota it’s “just a car”.
I think I should to put this theory to the test on my next trip and take the Cruiser. Doc?