Honking: A mood or a style of life?
Sometimes I hear them in my sleep
I had been walking for about an hour close to home, and without lying I heard a total of 23 honks in that walk. That experience made me ask myself: “Why did this happen?”. Then it was my turn to be at the wheel and I received the same quantity of honks without traffic.
Since I arrived in the United States, I noticed that people in the city (also other places) use the honks without hesitation. I thought that on my island people use it a lot, but it keeps short compared with the Americans and that’s a good sign in some way.
I thought that it was only on the weekdays because of school and work, everyone wants to arrive fast at each place. So I interviewed a person about this matter and what she told me only justified their action… “People can’t be slow in the city, that’s it”.
Then I noticed that the same happens on the weekends and late in the night, so everyone wants to go fast everywhere, no matter the time or place. Why is there so much impatience, urgency, and anger around? I don’t know, yet. I thought, in the beginning, that it was only a mood.
When I saw the reaction of the people to the honks I, immediately, understood that this behavior it’s a style of life for almost everyone inside a car. An example of that daily interaction on the streets it’s when the person being honked because didn’t go when the light turned green demonstrated their rage by pulling down their window and showing the middle finger to the “honker”.
The “honker” did it again and again and again in response to the insult. Both made gestures with their hands or yelled through the car window because no one wants to ignore the situation and continue with their driving. The funny (and not funny) thing it’s that at the next light or stop it’s going to happen again, but probably with another person.
I determined honking it’s a cultural behavior, so it’s difficult to change, but I can fantasize about possible solutions:
Give up the honks in the cars: The issue here it’s that sometimes it can be useful for an emergency or to alert about any situation.
Use more public transportation, bicycles, or walking: These people also experience honks because it’s not their turn to cross, for example.
Promote patience: These days, people don’t have time to practice their breathing.
People need to take it easy with their honks because soon it’s going to be a Royal Rumble on the streets and I don’t want to be in the middle of that. Not because I will be part of it, but because, possibly, I will be walking and that’s going to happen in front of my eyes. Being in the middle of that fight isn’t an experience that I want to narrate.
One thing I know it’s that “honkers” are very aggressive and the “honked people” even more… I’m one that cursed when someone honked me because the light changed to green one microsecond ago. But I did it in Spanish and none of them understood me because, without gestures, it appeared as if nothing had happened.
“Breath, my friend, breath. That’s only their style of life”, I told myself after that.