Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gettin' Horny

Odd Encounter of the Weeks: Horn

Honking the horn has never been a habit of mine. I have always likened it to cussing, something which I used to never do and now only do when I want to be cool. Cussing expressed my anger in very uneducated terms. Being an English major, I would look down the line of my nosebone and proclaim, "Cussing is a sign of poor vocabulary." I felt I could do better than this. Same with blaring my horn. It seemed a similarly obnoxious, unpleasant, uneducated expression of my anger, so I abstained for the longest time.

Plus, I saw this road rage story on tv one time where a guy got out of his car at a stop light and starting wailing on a car that had just honked at him. Apparently, this gentleman was on his way to the batting cages. This situation seemed embarassing. Its possibility haunted me into silence for years.

Then one day, I got cut-off. Bad cut-off. Already possessing a short-fuse, I knew this was the moment. I was going to honk my horn. With only a moments hesitation, I brushed the horn in the center of the steering wheel of my beloved '93 Honda Accord. As quickly as I jerked back my hand, I might as well have been a 4-year touching the stovetop to see if it was REALLY as hot as Mom said it was.

Having horned for the first time, I waited for the fall-out. Would I feel guilty? Would the guy go Barry Bonds on my car? Would he flip me the bird like Josh Smith in Bobcats Arena?

Then the fall-out came. . . . it felt awesome. What freedom! What liberation! What outlet for my angst! How come no one ever told me about this before?!?!?!

Despite this positive first experience, I still rarely give people the horn in an attempt to control my rage. Plus, that whole baseball bat thing.

Yet, the oddest thing has happened over the last couple of weeks. I am consistently horning people in the same place and at the same time of day.

My "commute" to work takes all of four minutes. I actually ran there a couple of days ago; it's that short. Right as I reach the shopping center though, I have to make an unprotected left at a stoplight - a stoplight which is always backed up with real commuters. I always end up sitting in the intersection until the light turns pink and then quickly scooting out of harm's way before the floodgates open to the x-axis. This is how traffic goes in South Charlotte. No biggie.

Except when the backed up cars run the red light. Now I have no problem running a light that has just recently turned red. p=mv tells us momentum is a force to be reckoned with - or given in to. What bothers me is that these people see me sitting in the intersection and know that I am helplessly at their mercy. Yet, onward they plow, leaving me open to t-bone.

This is beginning to happen quite frequently, so I have responded with the horn. Maybe they just don't see me, and my horn will suffice as a motivator for consideration in later trips. Mostly though, I believe them to be inconsiderate, selfish, and elitist. So I express my displeasure at their attitudes.

Most people use their horn to say, "!@#$ you," a vehicular middle finger if you will. I prefer mine to say, "Excuse me, jolly good sir, you seemed [sip from tea cup] to have engaged in a maneuver that inconvenienced me and put yourself in danger [check the time on chained pocket watch]. I just wanted to remind you to do be careful next time [polish monocle], for my sake as well as yours. Cheery good day to you and your family, sir."

At 7:15 in the morning though, I'm not certain what my horn is saying. All I know is I have to sit on my non-driving hand to keep from clarifying.

5 comments:

Jenn Pappa said...

hahaha!

that's adorable

thanks for some close-to-5 o'clock laughter. it was much needed :)

also, i think your vocabulary should fit your audience no matter how "low" you think it is if you want your true meaning to get across. People associate different words, including cuss words, with different emotions and connotation... to some it's the clearest way to express what they mean to who they are talking to and to some cuss words are just a block in the conversation that they can't get around.

Darice said...

I used to feel very similarly regarding 'bad words'...probably more my mother's doing than any real personal issue I may have had against such language.

I believe myself to have a pretty decent vocabulary. Unfortunately, to hear me speak you’d never know it. I tend to ease off on the use of big words because of the preserved ‘stuffiness’ of them. That isn’t an excuse – just a truth. Having said that, I must admit to absolutely loving (and using with some frequency) certain curse words. I will refrain from sharing them here. ;)

Now, one might suspect that since I enjoy the use of foul language, that I am not easily offended by words in general. (Common misconception.) I find the following words to be far more hurtful than any combination of curses: *
- shut up (when spoken with sincerity)
- stupid (as in ‘you are…’)
- retard (all forms)
- racial/religious slurs (any and all when intended to segregate and harm)

In response to ‘horn speak’, I will add that I too am fearful of other driver’s reactions. I tend only to toot at people when I am concerned with their lack of eyesight…sort of a ‘Hey, don’t pull out!’ (Your car obviously has a far better command of the English language than mine.)

* This is by no means a conclusive list of all the words my soul finds upsetting, but they are the ‘biggies.’

P.S. Isn't my cousin-in-law just the greatest!? :)

Jeff said...

^that was extremely intelligent. I'll be glad to bring down the intelligence level.

I f***ing hate other drivers. I would punch half of them in the face if they crossed me in the right situation. I wouldn't necessarily categorize myself as an angry person on the road...oh wait, yes I would. It's making me mad just to talk about it.

I'm gonna go yell at something now. Maybe I can get in the car and take out my rage. Where's my bat?

Jenn Pappa said...

hehe thanks darice! :)

Wilson said...

Your baseball bat story made me recall an incident I witnessed a couple years ago. The details are a little vague since its been a while, but it went down something like this....Myself, Brian, Georgy, and Dan I believe were in Asheboro a few years ago. We were stopped at a stop sign behind two other cars. When the driver of the first car stopped he immediately popped out of his car, ran to the car behind him(whose window was rolled down) and proceeded to throw punches at the driver. Then after he got a few licks in, ran back to his car, and drove off. True story, which the four of us later re-enacted of course to our great pleasure. One of the craziest things I've ever seen.