Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You and all your honking

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!

36 comments:

Eric said...

I used to want to put a train horn on my car, so punk drivers that pull crazy stuff could hear my horn over their radio with their windows rolled up. But now I'm more mellow. Congrats on not honking.

Tropical Mum said...

Who knew Vanilla Ice was a cure for road rage?

Kat said...

Traffic in our tiny town has become a huge issue with the addition of a lovely Sun City development. Tongue planted firmly in cheek. In my situation, honking does no good. I don't think they can hear it. I had a car full of new citizens bearing down on me the wrong way on a one way access road a while back. As I swerved into a ditch to avoid a head on, they used some not very pleasant hand signals to communicate their displeasure. Apparently, they couldn't read the signs that said DO NOT ENTER in huge letters. I did in fact use my horn (a lot!) on that occasion, but they blissfully ignored that too. I'm ready to buy a horse! Kat

singedwingangel said...

I only blow my horn if they could cause me to wreck.. otherwise I say bless em Lord cause if I lay hands on them it won't be to pray..

Stephanie said...

I don't think anyone honks as much as DC drivers and I hate it so much. I understand it if you're about to get hit, otherwise, the honking itself gives me road rage. XO

the walking man said...

No one in Detroit uses horns or turn signals and when brake light bulbs burn out, replaces them. We have learned road courtesy at the...well lets just say we know that too much noise may draw fire.

Sole Matters said...

Hahhaha HI FRIENDS! Hilarious. Im 27 and I totally sing when ice ice baby comes on.

Sammy K said...

I, too, am a honker. Sadly, Ice Ice Baby just doesn't cure my road rage. Damn...

lori said...

That sounds like a big honkin'endeavor and I wish you luck!

Dark Mother said...

Cursing is a part of driver's education in Jersey ; )

Jinksy said...

Once again, I'm so glad I don't drive...

John Sergent said...

Perhaps you providing a little driving lesson around Dallas with our beloved brother Mister Wisner could provide residents a few less decibels while on their daily commute!!!
Too FUNNY Jennifer!!! LOVE YOU!!!

Summer said...

Atlanta, home of the really friendly people, BUT the worst drivers I have ever seen in my LIFE. Well it's actually a toss up between Houston and Atlanta, but you know what I mean. I love you guys though.

Kristina P. said...

I'm, not generally a honker. I just flash my gun at them.

DeNae said...

Kristina's lying. She doesn't have a gun. She flashes her boobs instead. Far more menacing.

In Puerto Rico, honking really DOES mean "Hi, friend!" or "Hey, can I squeeeeeze in there?" or "I know I sorta just tapped your bumper just now, but we're all pals here, right?"

Driving is organic there; traffic as life form. And the honk is it's primary language. When we would pick up visitors from the airport, they would be complete basket cases by the time we got to our house. "Why are they honking? We didn't do anything wrong! Watch out, they're cutting you off! AAAAAAAIIIIGGGHHH!!!"

More entertaining than Vanillay Ice, baby!!

Eva Gallant said...

I loved this! lol

J.J. in L.A. said...

A brother, while teaching me how to drive, once said, "How are other drivers going to know that they f'ed up if you don't honk at them?" lol! Makes sense to me!

Mommy Lisa said...

There is this spot on my commute where the lane ends to go down the street that I need.

There will be WIDE OPEN HOLES for people to merge over, but NOOOOO! They inch along at 40-45 until they can squeezeinatthelastsecond. And for the last week I have decided to call these sucka's out with a long long long horn blast until they get the f' over.

:) sorry for my verbosity.

Myya said...

My girls have been known to call me out when I am not very nice driving. Oh & Ice Ice Baby... yep, know every single word. Sad but true. :)

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I used to drive in New York. In fact, I learned to drive and passed my test in Manhattan. I'm a calm driver and despite killer cabs always trying to kill me, I was all zen about it. I've driven from NYC to Florida. Zen. Then I moved here. Everyone drives like they're 95 and not exactly in charge of matters. They veer all over the road, don't know what a "lane" is and will either not signal at all before pulling an illegal move or will signal for fifteen minutes making you all stabby with anticipation.

So now I just let it flow. I have invented new swear words in the car. I have invited people to suck inappropriate parts of a donkey. I have told people all sorts of indiscreet matters their mamas may be involved in.

The horn is my best friend. One might say I am "horny". Ha. (groan)

The Constant Complainer said...

I honk all the time. It's a habit I need to ease up on. My daughter thinks it's funny, but my wife doesn't.

webb said...

I used to be your rival for Lady Road Rage, until a guy got out of his car (after cutting me off and getting a big honk!). he came to the window and threatened my husband with bodily harm if he didn't "control that B***h. That would be me! More recently as more people are carrying guns in their cars, I decided that it was not worth my life or anyone else's. In the current uncivil environment, I think getting shot over a traffic issue is a real possibility.

Jen said...

You know... I think my car's horn will die before it does... from overuse. I am the same way. Don't even get me started! Monday night is an awesome example: 90 minutes to work, fine, I behaved and listened to the radio. 90 minutes home? When I was trying to make my 6pm Zumba class? Oh hell no. don't even mess with that! My horn was going every five minutes on the minute the entire way.

Ed said...

I cried when they finally closed the ADC training camp.

And city traffic sucks everywhere. I've lived in Memphis, Chicago, Indianapolis...doesn't matter. Dumbasses abound.

secret agent woman said...

I honk. And I hold up my hands, palms upwards, in the universal "Are you freaking kidding me?" gesture.

K A B L O O E Y said...

I'm really not much of a honker. Mainly because I don't think that fast and aren't all that fond of driving in the first place. Most of the time I figure it was my fault, anyway. Except for the maroons who don't use turn signals. HATE that.

KittyCat said...

Let me just say that I did an all time worst.
I text alot. and I text my mom alot.
well one time i was out shopping (back to school) and it was freakin crazy out.
I had several text conversations going on.
I got a text that said is it crazy with lots of shoppers, so my replied was FUCK YES!
to get a return reply that said do you always talk to your mother like that. OMG, i had accidentially replied to my mother not my good friend.
MY mother is a very religious person. SHe was not too happy with me.
SO now I am very cautious when I reply that my mom is not on the receiving end of my POTTY mouth.
:(

Toe said...

Not only am I addicted to honking at a-holes I have found myself doing the reach over when Hubs is driving to honk at people, it's that bad.

Good luck on the turning a new leaf.

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

I used to be like you. But I also ride a motorcycle, besides a F250 4wd and a chevi (oooohh did i say that all in the same sentence??)

Anyways....road rage being what it is these days, and loonys being loonys...it's too easy for someone having a really bad day to
a)run you over on your motorcycle
b)pull up next to you and shoot you or c)hit you from behind as hard as they can and then run. And not think twice.

I was a big fan of middle finger waving, but as bad as it's getting out in the world today I just mumble to myself and go my own way. It's too crazy out there these days to attract attention and get killed for something that's small potatoes. That's my solution to traffic idiots I encounter.

Maria said...

I am a reformed profanity-yelling, hands up, sit on the damn horn driver.

Turning point?

Having my then three year old's Christian preschool teacher put the word he called a kid who cut him off in the trike path in hangman form with a corresponding letter key.


Mortified, I asked him why he would call an 18 month old an a-hole on the trike path. His response? "Isn't that what we call people who cut us off, Mommy?"

Needless to say, there is a lot of singing Vanilla Ice, Ice Baby when in the car with the boys...

And baby, if you have ever driven in Miami, you KNOW that takes about seven hundred kinds of self control!

Murr Brewster said...

The beauty of using your horn to express yourself is EVERYBODY gets to enjoy it.

Try getting an aHOOgah horn or something that makes fart noises. Very calming.

AmyLK said...

Happy Honking or not honking. And sing loud and strong!

hotpants™ said...

This story hits home. I have major road rage when the kids aren't in the car. I honk and scream even though no one can hear me. I yelled out JACKASS once when my son was in the car. He then when over to my in-laws house saying it over and over again. I totally lied and said I had no idea where he got it from. Thankfully, he did not tell them he heard it from Mommy.

Q said...

I used to live in Atlanta and know exactly what traffic is like there. Especially on 400. Yikes! But I feel no need to control my honking. It makes me feel better, releases some stress, and I can go about my day.

Dalton said...

This is hilarious! After 9 years in Beijing, I can say I'm no longer phased by homking. People there honk to tell you they are coming, honk as they drive the wrong way up the shoulder of the interstate, honk as they cross four lanes of traffic, and believe you me, if there is anyone else in the vicinity driving badly - which is everyone! And I love your spin doctoring to 'hi friends' - my daughter dropped the f-bomb that she learned from my husband. I've still too much shame to post about it just yet, but its coming...

Jenn@the loves of jenn said...

I learned the honking game when we lived in Chicago. I've since changed my honking ways because when you live in Ohio where there is no traffic, people look at you like you're crazy when you honk. It's not fun anymore! :)