As a Mini driver, there is a secret kinship that is shared only with other Mini drivers, but I’m fairly certain that drivers of other unique models share a similar kinship. But for new inductees, this kinship can come as a surprise. But ultimately makes you feel part of something greater.
After wheeling my new glistening Mini Cooper out of the showroom, it was only moments after driving down High St, Malvern, that I was inducted into the Mini-owners group by another driver. It was a simple wave, kind of like those that you see train or tram drivers do whenever passing another train or tram. Suddenly I was part of this new group of motorists who shared one thing – the love of the classically designed Mini.
At first I thought the driver was being courteous, but as time went on, an increasing number of Mini drivers were giving me the wave, to which I quickly learnt to reciprocate. No matter where I was – in the city, out in the suburbs or driving in the country, the wave became a common occurrence. Of course, not everyone waved, but of those who did, it became fairly obvious that this was something Mini drivers did.
Now over a year on, it had been a while since another Mini driver waved, but after a fruitful (and expensive) day of shopping, I was exiting the carpark when another Mini rolled in. The driver waved enthusiastically at me with a Cheshire cat smile. This was a seriously excited driver.
I didn’t respond purely for the fact that I was caught off guard by her waving. I honestly thought she was waving to my friend was with me. All I kept thinking was “How can she see him that far away?” and “Does she even know him? Who the hell is she?” And as I maintained my dumbfounded, confused look, she continued waving with gusto.
I continued up the ramp and drove off still confused. But as my friend and I spoke at length about how I just ignored her, he alerted me to the fact that other drivers did something similar. Apparently, Mazda6 drivers wave to each other. And something tells me VW Beetle drivers do it too.
Such a simple gesture makes you feel like you are part of something greater and that you are part of a group. It’s a reassuring feeling for a species that has an innate need to be loved and have companionship. I have to lift my game and continue the Mini tradition, even if they are waving excitedly from a far.