August 11, 2007

RECORD-REVIEW: "Discovering a 'Mini' Moment"

By Bonni Brodnick

The pocketsize Mini Coopers are about the cutest things on Westchester country roads. Going through a mid-life crisis (although at “mid” life he’d be living to 104, but don’t say anything), my husband gave in to buying a two-toned red hot Mini with a white top. I was used to driving around in a blue Volvo Mommy station wagon where I just hop in, shift into first gear, and go. No one ever looked at me. I didn’t even have to wear lipstick.

“You’ll see,” said my husband. “When you drive a Mini, everyone waves. It’s just like boating.”

Long Island Sound: Interstate 684? I saw no connection.

No connection until I drove his Mini Cooper. Within three miles from home, two Mini drivers waved at me. Suddenly, I was no longer invisible in a Volvo station wagon. I was someone! I was also slightly embarrassed.

“Yeah, hi,” I muttered and returned a wave limply under the dashboard, too abashed to look at the other driver.

Another mile down the road, another Mini waved. What is this magical car I’m driving? I called my husband on my cell (of course, stopping first to pull over to the side of the road.)

“Hon, what goes on here? Every other Mini Cooper driver I pass waves at me. Am I ‘in the club’ now or something?”

“It’s a Mini Cooper universe out there,” he said. “Every -- no kidding – every Mini owner is friendly. I think it’s a pre-requisite before they drive out of the lot. Just wave back, and well, ride the wave.”

So I did.

I even thought about the gestalt of hand gesturing. One hand up, palm forward, pivot the fingers while rotating the hand. After watching Helen Mirren in the film “The Queen,” we know well that there are different waves. There’s the “High Five Wave”; “Flap Fingers Wave” (not recommended); “Howdy-do Shot Gun Wave”; and “Stationary Spread-Finger Wave”.
My daughter just got her driver’s license and wanted to give someone the right of way. She gave a nubie weak-wrist-wave where her fingers barely left her palm. I couldn’t believe it, but I actually said, “That’s not the right way to wave, darling.”

I proceeded with giving a demonstration. She thought I was insane. But knowing the right way to give the right of way is what makes the world go round.

While driving home from the office the other day, I eyed a silvery-green Mini coming up on my left. I looked over and there was a cute guy at the wheel. Feeling forward, I gave “The High Five Wave.” He smiled. As we proceeded, two lanes squeezed into one. He looked at me again and gestured, “You want to go first?”

I flashed the “Howdy-do Shot Gun Wave” indicating, “Go ahead, guy.” He responded with a suave “Stationery Spread-Finger Wave” and held it in the air for a few seconds. I blushed. This cool road communiqué never happened in my Volvo. I was having a Mini moment… and loving it.
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