Yesterday, someone had the audacity to honk at me. It wasn’t one of those cheerful little toots that a person might use to get someone’s attention when waving them into traffic, but a full-on ten second blast – the kind that you should only use when you are behind the controls of a freight train that is bearing down upon someone in the tracks. The offender? Some octogenarian in a Buick. My crime? A not so near-miss that occurred while I was making a left turn across traffic from a side street into a center turn lane.
The fact I’m still stewing about it a full day later should say something about how often I get blasted with the horn. In the approximately thirty years I have been driving, I would guess it has happened less than a dozen times. Likewise, in that same period, I have only done it a few times myself, mostly from the back of a motorcycle, and then only after the gravest offense. That’s because I was taught, to put it mildly, that blasting the horn is an audible middle finger and the sort of thing that might cause a near miss to escalate into actual violence.
In my travels I have noticed that different cultures manifest themselves on the roads in different ways. In some cities blaring horns are so common that they have ceased to have any real effect. In the same way that someone who lives on the final approach to a major airport no longer hears the noise of the jets whizzing less than a thousand feet overhead, horns in those places have become a normal part of the background noise as innocuous as the chirping of birds to someone who lives near a park. Here in the good ol’ USA, however, the honking of horns for anything more than the occasional beep is uncommon and anything more might result in a hail of gunfire.
Although I am not officially assigned to TTAC’s Question Of The Day beat, I would like to start a discussion about horns, how and when they are used. Am I the only one who takes it personally when someone flips me the audible bird? Was my desire to follow the old man home and bludgeon him to death with his own walker reasonable, or unreasonable?