The gammy howya.

‘I was just walkin up the road when it happened.’

‘And he definitely used three fingers?’


‘And you didn’t recognise him?’

‘Hadn’t a clue.’

‘What was he drivin?

‘Black yoke.’

‘Not an SUV, like: Here’s me driving this big bus and I want you to see it?’

‘No, it was a: sleek here’s me after putting in a new exhaust and leather seats and the car smells like lemon, wagon.’

‘Christ. Was he on his own?’

‘Missus in the passenger seat I think.’

‘Did she notice?’

‘No, she was on the phone.’

‘That helps. Was the window open?’

‘Don’t think so, wrong side of road anyway.’

‘Did he lean forward, or just lift the three fingers off the wheel?’

‘Lifted them a good bit.’

‘Like if he leaned forward, that’s serious, that’s a big howya, ya can’t just leave him hangin.’

‘I know, sure one finger wouldn’t be too bad.’

‘One is like: Howya now, know ya kinda, might think you’re a prick but it’s awkward so I’ll say hello.’

‘I’d take that.’

‘Two is like: I know your brother, met ya at your sister’s wedding, put in a cabinet for your mother one time, least ya could do is say hello.’

‘That’s what I thought he might be, but it was fuckin three for sure.’

‘Three’s like: Howya now, knows your name, we got drunk 25 years ago and shared some life changing shit at the time, and we had all that craic in school, and how can ya not remember?’

‘Still I gave the good wave back.’

‘Like how?’

‘Like the long left hand, Pope mobile style.’

‘Was he still in sight when ya took it down?’

‘My hand? Yeah, like I wasn’t leavin it up there all evenin…’

‘Well that means you’re checkin out of the wave, like. You’re not sure and you don’t want to commit, like you’re sayin: I never really liked you anyway, this wave was a social mistake. Don’t be gettin big ideas.’

‘I was committed though, even looked right at him.’

‘And you still didn’t know who he was?’

‘Not a fuck’s clue.’

‘Three fingers and no recognition, that’s tough. Was there anyone behind ya?’

‘Don’t think so.’

‘Happened to me before.’


‘I was on the bridge in Galway and some lad was givin the camp wave, like: Wasn’t it great last week at the party, and maybe we should stop all the traffic and talk, and I just lifted the hand and gave the gammy howya, and then I heard someone behind me.’


‘Sure they were wavin at some other lad. They just stared at me then. Think they thought I was some kind of escaped imbecile weirdo…’

‘Least that was Galway. What if I see this lad again, around the town.’

‘Sure ya won’t even recognise him.’

‘But he’ll remember if I wasn’t committed.’

‘You should’ve just pretended you didn’t see him at all.’

‘Not with three fingers off the steering wheel in a self done up car with the missus in the front.’

‘Yeah, that’s social blasphemy. You’re fucked. You’re now a snobby bastard that thinks he’s big shtuff and left him hanging.’

‘I could walk around for a while and try rectify it if I see him again?’

‘Yeah, but what if he ignores you this time, leaves you there like pennywise the clown on the side of the street?’

‘Yeah, fuck that.’

‘It’s done, etched in the history books forever. Can’t be undone. You might just have to live with the shame.’

‘I might just emigrate.’

‘Probably better off.’

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