Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Telltale Honk

Beep, beep. Misunderstood and abused, the horn in your car is actually a very clever communications device. We say more with a simple tap on the horn than I think most people could ever realize. For many, their communication choices might change if they really understood what they were shouting.

For instance, with some honks we may be making a statement about another driver. A simple short honk directed at a car that has just cut you off is a quick statement of saying "hey, watch it, you almost caused an accident with your reckless driving!" Letting someone know this hopefully helps them to try and behave in a less foolish manner the next time. Short and sweet.

A longer more dramatic honk aimed at someone performing an illegal maneuver says something more serious like "if it were up to me, I'd remove your licence, you idiot!". Longer it is, the more dramatic the statement.

A series of short staccato honks, over and over again, says more emotional things like "what", "the", "hell", "do", "you", "think", "yoooour", "doing". Possibly reminding someone that there are in fact rules of the road, and that they should possibly attempt to follow them a little more literately. Good in circumstances where the other driver "shouldn't be".

With some honking we may actually be making a statement about the various injustices of our society or even the entire planet. A long series of mixed length honks often replaces the expletives in the full sentence that we are desperately trying to communicate, as in "what the beep do you beep think beeeep you are doing. You beep-head. Beep."

Or as we are often stuck in traffic one might use their horn to utter to the world "for beeps sake, beep, beep the government and beep the city planners that are beeping responsible for this beep beep beep beep pathetic beeping traffic". Sometimes venting is a healthy form of communication, although sometimes it is not.

While horn honking generally reflects our statements of the world around us it can often show us up for who we truly are. For instance while sitting outside of someone else's house in a quiet suburban neighborhood in the evening, beeping to inform them you are waiting says defiantly "I am so totally lazy that I can't be bothered to get up and ring the doorbell. I am just not an impressive person, you probably wouldn't like me." Beeping in the morning is similar, but less definitive.

Beeping at a car that actually can't get out of your way or in fact has the legitimate right way often means "I so beeping impatient that most people think I'm a huge beeep. Even my dog beeps me. I beep." Sometimes I think that people aren't actually that rude, they must just be checking to see that their horn is still working; just in case.

Certainly the most despicable honking comes from letting it rip behind anyone doing a left turn and always means "I am such a freakin beep that even though I can't see the road ahead, I will still beep you with my beeped opinion! I should rot in beep." Somethings are beyond rude, they are just stupid and dangerous.

As if you were standing in the middle of street talking to yourself, it is fair for people to judge you by the way you communicate with your horn. In our cars we like to believe we are invisible, but that pretty much isn't the case. Standing in the supermarket isle screaming to yourself is embarrassing, so is honking your horn for a stupid reason in the middle of an intersection. If you're 'barking' at less than nothing, we have the right to assume you are having sever internal difficulties, since the external ones appear to be non-existent.

It is important for people to understand that they are communicating with the world around them, and while they believe that they may be commenting on the current events, they may actually just be commenting on themselves.

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