The other day I was heading home after another particularly non-stressful day. The drive home is fairly short and not in the least bit hectic thanks to getting to leave a bit early. There is one stretch, however, that tends to get a little more congested. The blocks are shorter and there’s a light every few feet. If I had to choose a place along my path home that is my least favorite, this would be it only because I have to brake a lot more and I start feeling a bit boxed in.
Now for the most part I’m a fairly laid back individual. The kind of person my friend’s would like to shake when I’ve been wronged or treated unfairly because I don’t have the appropriate spasm. Mind you, I’ll have that spasm later and shout to the roofs, but I’m just not the kind of person you’ll find challenging the wait staff. My attacks look like a cross between me apologizing to the offender for being mad and arguing with my shoes or the floor.
Back to the traffic situation – I’m on my way home when I allow a car to get in front of me. He’d been waiting awhile and we’re hitting that stretch of lights so it’s no skin off my nose. The driver waves a thank you and gets situated in our lane. He signals then to move over into the left hand lane and moves over. Mind you, the left hand lane was moving slowly and there was a huge gap. What I want you to walk away with here is he had plenty of time and wasn’t doing anything in the least bit daring. That’s where the driver in the left hand lane and I differ. The newly affronted driver who didn’t have to brake to let Friendly Waver in beeps his little horn angrily. I shrug, apparently he thought the guy didn’t have the time and I continue to meander through the stoplights. Well, angry beeper guy had obviously been affronted by this switching of lanes so he continues to honk for at least 7 more blocks finally resorting to laying on the horn for long seconds at a time. WOW! I’m amazed but I’m also getting a little fed up, too.
I then have a fantasy that involves all of the drivers stopping, getting out of their respective cars and pounding this guy into his horn. I hate the mob mentality and I never have thought of myself as one who’d enjoy boxing, but in this moment I was pretty sure that pummeling this guy would be satisfying. An event that might make me want to get ice cream afterwards.
I’m reminded of two stories. The one where a woman was being honked at excessively during the Christmas shopping season for not darting out into traffic like the person behind her thought she should. That woman let the car pass, she gunned her own car, slammed into his, pushed him for a mile and then when the cars stopped she leapt out of her vehicle while wielding a ball peen hammer. I’m sorry if this is incorrect, but the honker had it coming. My personal story isn’t quite as entertaining. I was coming out of the bank’s drive thru when I nearly dashed out in front of someone. I was in the wrong. He honked and I mouthed, “I’m sorry” while doing the whole “I’m sorry” pantomime with my hands and facial expressions that we sometimes do. Well, I guess my performance wasn’t award winning so the guy didn’t move and proceeded to lie on his horn. Frankly, I only have so much “I’m sorry” in me. One beep you get I’m sorry, two beeps I’ll try to move on but you lay on your horn and I’m done. I had my head sticking out of the window screaming words that would make a sailor proud and my mother die on the spot. The guy finally stopped and screamed “hey”. That’s all you’ve got? Hey?
I’ve heard that in Paris there are laws about noise pollution particularly in relationship to car horns. (Lori, correct me if I’m wrong on this.) You can use your horn in an emergency like if you’re about to be in an accident, but you can’t use it as an expression of your anger. I think we should adopt that kind of law. Barring that, we should allow people to use a temporary insanity plea if they pound a driver for honking too much. I think it should be a blanket plea if they honked to the point that a mob forms and they were pulled out of their car.
Excessive car honking is a menace and is up there with unattended car alarms blaring, electricity being off for more than 15 minutes in a Texas summer and Chihuahuas. Something needs to be done… about all of those things.