Yes, we've been home from Lopez for one day, and I'm already planning my next trip up. The more that I stay there, the more that I simply need to be there. My neighbors here on the mainland look at me strangely as I wave to them as we pass - forgetting where I am. There was an article in the Seattle paper this summer about just that:
LOPEZ ISLAND — One hates to define a place by its clichés, but sometimes there's truth to be found.
"On Lopez, everybody does 'The Wave,' " an Orcas Islander told me before I embarked for Lopez.
It's a bit like what you see on the back roads of Hawaii, where locals salute each other with the "hang loose" sign.
But the Lopez wave isn't that demonstrative. In fact, it's barely a wave at all — more a lifting of one finger from the steering wheel when cars pass.
And yes, the "Wave" changes how you drive - one of your hands always has to be at the top of the steering wheel to be ready to wave. Actually, I tend to lift 4 fingers off of the steering wheel as my wave. And the local sheriff also waves back, by the way.
But in addition to just feeling friendly, when you constantly think about waving to anyone that you pass, you find that you tend to spend more time thinking of others, and not getting lost in your own "stuff". Perhaps a case of "doing" eventually changes your "thinking"?
I just know that when I'm not there, I really miss it. Life seems so disconnected and abrupt back on the mainland, now.