• Kanika Lal

The Silent but Sincere Jeep Jargon

It's past 1 am on a Saturday night, technically Sunday, and there are so many things I could be writing about.


A major topic being that I just returned home from a bar.


A BAR.


During a pandemic.


It seems the "hype" of Covid-19 is slowly but surely fading away. That's a different topic for a different day, though.


On my drive home from a fun, much-needed night out, I smiled at what I could potentially blog about.


My experience with driving a Jeep Wrangler.


I've never driven a Wrangler growing up, but my older brother was the OG owner. My younger sister also joined the family of jeeps, so I was borrowing hers for the time being.


Now, let me first address those drivers who don't own a Wrangler or know much about the etiquette:

  1. There's this thing called the jeep wave. A subtle, but communal gesture that says you're in this together. Every time you pass another jeep on the road, you hold up your two fingers or the whole hand from your steering wheel to acknowledge the other driver and car.


“Warning: Owning, registering, insuring, or driving a Jeep implies knowledge of, and intent to abide by the following rules, regulations, and guidelines. Failure to obey the letter or spirit of the rules may result in you being ignored by other Jeep owners as you sit along the side of the road next to your stalled vehicle in a blizzard surrounded by Saturns, Yugos, and Hyundais. — Jeep Talk”

2. Originally the jeeps who participated in this sweet behavior were CJ, YJ, TJ and JK

(as a non-jeep owner, I don't know exactly what those models are), but I do know that

all Jeeps take part and abide by this rule now.


As stated, "All Jeepers are responsible for upholding the tradition of the wave. If a fellow

Jeeper waves, you are required to return the wave even if that Jeeper is driving a

Grand Cherokee or Compass. It’s as simple as that."


When I first borrowed my sister's Jeep, I almost forgot about the wave. It was until I noticed another Jeeper passing by, holding his fingers up. Immediately I got excited and threw my hand up. I told my sister about my experience as she joked, "Just don't embarrass yourself while driving my car."


The next few times, I was passed with so many jeeps, and either I initiated the wave or they did. It felt so good to drive on the street and be greeted by others - just for owning the same car!


I know I am new at this, but I love the feeling of community, togetherness, and understanding the spirit of the language.


Tonight, taking my sister's car out again for a spin, I started the journey on a good foot as I noticed a jeep driving by. The driver seemed distracted, having fun with friends in the car. That didn't stop him, though, from looking to the side and making the effort to give the wave. I immediately took it upon the Jeep and flicked up my fingers, still remembering my sister's words to "act cool."


I waited for the Jeep to pass and proceeded to smile so wide.


"I love driving this car."


This is where it gets emotional for me.


After meeting some friends for dinner, I wanted to put the leftovers in the car and move my parking spot from the garage to the street since the garage would close soon. As I headed back, I noticed a worker at a different restaurant walking towards me in the patio. We made eye contact, and I felt drawn - almost safe - to ask him about the street parking rules. He ensured that it's free because of the COVID situation and said I could park all night if I had to. In fact, he pointed out that he's parked across the street, and I could take his spot.


"It's the Jeep right over there," he presumed to tell me.


"Ah," I thought. "A fellow Jeep driver. No wonder he's so kindhearted," I thought to myself. I also thought to myself, "I mean, I think I can trust him. After all, he works at the restaurant, and he seems harmless. What would he gain by tricking me." I didn't let that negativity deter me from my love for Jeepers and decided to borrow his spot.


I ran towards the car, hopped in and put my delicious wild mushroom pasta I was saving for later, and drove out of the garage to find the spot.


After a few turns, I found the Jeeper waiting for me as he motioned for me to make a U-turn to take his spot. I drove up to his parking, and as he slipped away, I fit right in.


Perfect.


I saw him again after parking as I walked across the street to return back to my friends. He was not only kind enough to give me his parking spot, but he parked in front of the hydrant as he continued his shift.


"I've been working here for a long time, we're all good," he said. He told me his name was Patrick, and I thanked him again.


Are all Jeep drivers this nice, I wondered? Or do you become nicer the more you drive a Jeep?


At the end of the day, what I do know, is that a simple wave or a nice gesture like his are reminders of God's work.


God may not have made Jeeps, but man did. And we must not let the spirit die.


Now, Audi drivers, could we throw up some peace signs at each other once in a while?



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