I've become disturbed lately at the number of JK drivers who feel that other Jeep owners are hating on them because of their rigs. Several threads and posts have popped up from people who are afraid they won't be accepted as a "serious Jeeper" because they drive a JK. Nonsense!
I've only driven JKs. But I love all Jeeps. And I've had many pleasant "parking lot talks" with drivers of CJs, TJs and YJs who just love to talk about their rigs, with never a disparaging word about my stock JK. They proudly tell me about their lifts, spacers and other mods and then show genuine enthusiasm when I show them the hitch receiver I installed myself. It's enough, it seems, to be excited about a Jeep.
But people still report some animosity between drivers of different models. It often reminds me of the relationship we sailors had with Marines. We fought like cats and dogs on base but became very protective of one another when confronted by others. (The most notable "ruckus" I was ever involved in outside a hockey rink came after a squad of Marines attached to our base was accosted by a group of locals.) We had our differences, but we were on the same team and we knew it. After all, how many of you could just drive past a Jeep sitting on the side of the road?
The "Jeep wave" is like the secret handshake of our "tribe" as it were. I didn't know about it until a few months into my first Wrangler. But now I try never to miss a Jeep. Not everyone waves back, but that's OK. A few are too busy driving. And not everyone is aware of the custom. Lots of ladies seem to think they are being hit on while some of the guys seem to think you must be someone who knows them.
But my most favorite wave comes from the drivers who are obviously having a bad day. Scowling expression. Eyes glazing straight ahead. And then I pass in front of them with a quick wave. They press their lips together and throw up a hand to honor the obligation of their ride. They didn't enjoy it, but as bad as things were they still thought to wave.
Those are the waves - and the Jeep drivers - I appreciate most of all!