One balmy afternoon, I was in the car with my Mom chatting away en route to lunch when a car pulled unexpectedly and aggressively in front of us. Next thing I know I hear several blasts of the car horn and a splash of inappropriate language. After taking it all in, I looked, wide-eyed at my Mom. She is suddenly and momentarily speechless.
And then I say "Mmm, sorry. For that little outburst."
I had lived in Atlanta only about six months at this time. My Mom was unaware I was becoming quite savvy regarding Atlanta traffic. And clearly well-versed in it too. Atlanta, where the morning or evening commute can take longer than it takes bring a child to term, has a way of taking a nice young lady who would not think of honking and swearing at cars into Lady Rage of the Roadway. I have endured some painful traffic experiences over the past decade. However, I am more crafty now. It helps we live in the city and I now work ten minutes away, we use back roads to many destinations including MiniMac's school and we know how to time it right (usually) to avoid the highest volume and worst scenario traffic whenever possible.
But the early and long exposure to it produced a very bad result. I am a chronic honker. I admit it. And it is not like I do it because someone asked me to honk if I love Jesus either. I am a honker. And no longer a dainty "oh, pardon me, Miss..." style honker either. More like: ARE YOU _________ KIDDING ME style like I should be penning lyrics for Eminem.
Me and all my honking. It is a weakness. I confess. Oh, and I already know it is not exactly nice. But isn't it necessary at times? Even a little bit?And it is not like I honk at every car or driver. Only the a-holes. But, oh, there are plenty.
Now, before I go further, let me clarify I am a portal of patience and kindness when MiniMac is in the car with me. In fact, many of you may recall that when MiniMac was about 18 month old, I honked at a car coming out of a blind driveway so they could proceed out of that driveway safely. Like Pavlov's dog, my tiny son heard the horn and said firmly, "Move IDIOT." Yes, I know it could be worse. My husband, ahem, told me that already. Why? Because he is the one who taught our son this horn + unpleasantries combinatinon. So I had to do spin control and spent the next several car trips teaching my son that when we honk, we say, "HI FRIENDS!" Really, I do not want to say "HI FRIENDS" but I also don't want to hear my son come home, or worse, go to his Grandparents and repeat things that sound like he went to Andrew Dice Clay Training Camp for D-bags.
However, when my son is not in the car, oh my. I somehow think the horn has become my bugle of consciousness. An instant "You are a terrible driver" song note. But unfortunately, it is also like a call for a duel. Not only is traffic here worse than gang initiation, you will also see the following pattern. Driver 1 is a dumbarse and pulls in front of you or cuts you off. You honk. Driver 1 flips you off or yells something not so innocent or kind and involving you doing dirty things to yourself. No peace is restored. No conflict is resolved. And Driver 1 speeds off with her "My son is an honor roll student at Sunnyside Elementary" sticker blazing in the sun. Really.
So today, I was driving home and a woman, on her cell phone, because she is sooooooooooooooo busy, pulled in front of me as I was going through an intersection. She had a red light which means DO NOT do that. But it happened. I was tempted to honk. But then I finally realized a horn honk only works for mating geese. It does not deter fools from being foolish. And peace is not restored. And conflict is not resolved.
So I was a big girl. And I didn't honk. And then I wanted to say WOW, what a grown up I am. And then toot my own horn. Which would have required honking. And would have defeated the purpose of the first drill. Instead, I turned the volume up louder and the situation passed. I thought, no need to get surly and honk when I can simply listen to Vanilla Ice sing Ice Ice Baby. Because admit it, MANY of you still know (and sing) every word to that song when you hear it. I am not the only one. So I sang to the extreme I rock a mike like a vandal. Thankfully Eye of the Tiger was not playing or who knows what might have happened.
So I now resolve to stop honking the horn at others. Except of course, to say "Hi Friends" when I truly mean it. I will let you know my profess after Friday traffic sinks in starting at about 2 pm. But I better plan ahead and put Ice Ice Baby on a loop. Happy driving. Friends!