On the bike, head nods are an important communication tool. When people are across several lanes of traffic and you need your hands on the bars, a head nod is a greeting. It has variations. The acknowledgment and return greeting nod. The hey how are you nod. And, to drivers of cars, there are the I’m here nod and the thanks for letting me in nod.

I find myself using nods with coworkers though, and that startles me even though I do it automatically. That’s just a plain greeting nod.

I thought about this on the way home from the grocery store yesterday, because as I approached the checkout lanes, I caught the eye of one of the employees and he gave me a come on over nod. I smiled and gave an acknowledgment nod.

Leaving the grocery store, waiting for traffic to clear to make a left turn, I caught the eye of a pedestrian approaching the street I was on. I gave him a go ahead and cross, I see you and acknowledge your right of way nod, and he gave me a hey thanks nod in return.

Did I always communicate with nods? I don’t know. I don’t remember making such good use of them in the past.

I like the language of nods. I don’t always feel like speaking, and it’s nice to know that I can communicate just as well, silently.

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