Raising a Hand to Hamlet’s Soliloquy

Most motorcyclists wave to one another, though not all. Whether to raise one’s hand – or not – raises a philosophical question.  


To wave, or not to wave: that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler to raise a friendly hand
And make motions projecting outrageous response,
Or withhold the hand, the flashing sea of fingers?
The rocking wrist conveys acknowledgment;
Yet elitist riders leave their hands to sleep
As passing riders feel the pang of the snubbed
That waves denied are heir to.
’tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d.
To wave, to greet; perchance to meet: ay, there’s the rub.
For in that greet or meet in passing along roads
When we have shuffled on an ignition coil, we must give pause.
The wave’s respect that makes friendly a so-long ride;
For who would bear the hands and gloves of time?
The nonwaver’s wrong, the elitist contumely,
The pangs of ignored fellow riders over the wave delayed.
What the insolence of wavelessness
The patience of the rider not waved upon,
When he himself might his friendliness make with a bare palm?
Who would cruisers bear to grunt and sweat upon an air-cooled twin,
But that the dread of rice burners, liquid-cooled,
Or Euro riders far, far better in their own minds.
No such elite traveler returns a wave
Or initiates kind gestures to acknowledge a sameness.
Are we rather to bear those ills we have
Than wave to others that we know not of?
Thus wavelessness does make cowards of us all
And thus the native hand of resolution
Remains upon the grip with the pale cast of thought,
And fails to grasp the opportunity, the moment.
With disregard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action.
Wave you now! Fair motorcyclists, raise a hand in friendship!
Be all my waves remember’d.

Adapted by Scott A. Williams with apologies to William Shakespeare. The waving motorcyclist depicted above is Scott’s friend Jim MacCannell, enjoying a ride on the Cherohala Skyway in Tennessee.

Copyright © by Scott A. Williams. All rights reserved.