We live, so it seems, in bubbles and behind glass screens. They may be computer screens, or phone screens, or the windshields of our cars, but no matter what there seems to be something between us and the rest of the world. We only talk to people who agree with us politically and religiously. So I’ll go ahead and be the seven zillionth person today to say that this de-humans us and un-empathizes us in dealing with each other.
But here’s my take on it: we’re all familiar with the complaint that we think that we’re calling profile pictures the size of raisins “morons” and “idiots” instead of the actual human beings that posted the profile pictures when we respond on social media. That’s old news. No, I’m talking about car horns.
Unless you’re doing a quick little “meep” to get someone to look up because the light has turned green, your HONK HONK is really shouting JERK JERK. It is the rare honk that is honked for safety reasons. You are honking because you are mad. It is a honk after the fact. It is a honk to express your displeasure at the driving habits of the car who is going too slowly for your tastes, who turned in front of you, who changed lanes in a way that inconvenienced you, who didn’t make the turn when you would have, who blah blah blah blah. Your honk doesn’t express concern for anyone’s safety. It didn’t say, “Be careful!” or “Look out!” It says, “Move it, jerk!” or “You shouldn’t have done that, jerk!” Or maybe it was a saltier four letter word.
Don’t kid yourself. There is nothing altruistic about your honk.
And here’s the dealio: you aren’t honking at the Jeep or the Buick or the the midlife crisis Corvette. You are honking at people: at the 16-year old who just got his license who is on the road by himself for the first time driving the Jeep; the mother driving her son with the flu to the doctor in her Buick; and the guy who just got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer driving the Corvette to his empty apartment. You yelled JERK JERK at those people. How do you feel now? Like a jerk?
I’m not saying I’m this peaceful, zen-like, love-all driver. I get irritated by clueless people and drivers just like the rest of humanity. I mutter and cuss to myself, and have ground out more than one filling in my molars clenching my jaw. I’m just saying that yelling JERK JERK for everyone to hear isn’t productive. All it does is add to the general atmosphere of ugliness and hate in the universe. In the history of the world, no one has heard someone honking at them and thought, “Oh! Oh my! Perhaps I have offended someone with my actions! I shall repent and amend my ways!” Nope. I think the standard response to hearing JERK JERK is something along the lines of, “Up yours.”
I could be wrong. Or I could just be a jerk. Either way, I’m not pulling out into the middle of an intersection and stopping if I can’t make a left turn right away, no matter how many people honk at me.
If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook. Lori is a National Society of Newspaper Columnists 2018 Columnist winner, and a New Apple, Readers’ Favorite, and eLit award winner for her latest release, “You Know I Love You Because You’re Still Alive.” She is also the author of the bestselling books “Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza,” and “The Armadillo, the Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket.”
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.