Tipper or Dipper?


  Ah, the beauty of summer.

More time on your bicycle.

More reflection. Introspection.

I see so many more cyclists this time of the year. Call me old school, but I still believe in offering some sort of recognition when passing another two-wheeled brethren (to be honest, I offer it to three-wheelers, too, but one wheelers? … It depends).

Which begs the question: Am I a tipper or a dipper?

A tipper, of course, is someone who throws his head upward, in a, YO! fashion.

Conversely, a dipper is someone who drops his head, in reverence.

OK, so I’m teetering on the brink of TMI. But yes, this is what keeps me amused on my commute.

If someone were to catch me off-guard, and point blank ask me, I probably would say I’m a tipper.

So this week I decided to test that theory. The results were enlightening.

I found, for the most part, I’m a tipper to dudes and a dipper to dudettes. Well, a dipper to dudettes and anyone whom I deem worthy of extra recognition.

Like my elders. Mothers toting children. Folks like that.

Once I established my MO, the question came up about everyone else.

I studied and studied folks. Looking for a trend. I couldn’t really established anything concrete on tipping and dipping.

Except for this. If you catch someone off-guard. If you KNOW they weren’t planning on offering any sort of recognition, but you toss them a tip or a dip.


They will mimic you.

You dip, they dip. You tip, they tip.

[Bear with me, we’re almost to work at this point.]

But just when it feels as though I have a real grasp of this phenomena, reality surfaces.

I think I heard this on Car Talk. Great deep thought.

Reality astonishes theory.

As I rolled through the wetlands, I came upon a woman heading my way.

It’s a sad commentary, but a lot of woman avoid eye contact at all costs. They don’t want to send the wrong message. I certainly wouldn’t want my daughters ever sending the wrong message. So I understand.

Just at the last second, it appeared this woman was willing to offer recognition.

Without forethought, I dipped.

I’ll admit that in that nanosecond, I certainly expected a dip in return. A mimic.

Instead, she offered a lightning quick tip.

And for a moment, I thought all my research had gone for naught. Nothing about this encounter made sense.

Then she thrust her head forward. Time slowed. My brain whirled.

No, could it be? Is this going to be a tip-dip?

The anticipation swirled in a frenzy.

Then, my answer came.

Her head continued forward, as quick a dip as I’ve ever seen!





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