No One Is Surprised, As Angrily Honking The Car Horn Proves Less Effective Than Language

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 13, 2018

(I’m leaving campus late at night and I come up to the intersection at the street outside. The light is red. I press the button for the pedestrian crossing. I’ve noticed before that this intersection’s lights are badly programmed: it takes three to five minutes at night for the light to turn green after pressing the button. There’s no traffic at all, and no other people around. I press the pedestrian crossing button and wait near it. About five seconds later, a lone car comes up on the road to my left, also out of the campus, clearly intending to go straight across in the same direction as me. It stops at the red light, in the second lane away from me. Then, suddenly:)

Driver: *Hoooonk. Hooooonk. Hooooonk.*

(I’m startled and confused.)

Driver: *Hoooonk. Hooooonk. Hooooonk.*

(I’m alarmed enough that I take a couple steps away.)

Driver: *Hoooonk. Hooooonk. Hooooonk. Hooooooooonk.*

(I look over and see it’s an expensive sports car, with some very impatient-looking, young dude behind the wheel. He’s making weird and angry faces at me and gesturing wildly; either pointing at me or at the light-pole behind me, while really laying on his horn. The other side of the street is a residential neighborhood, it’s late at night, and he’s making an enormous racket. I’m understandably weirded out and I take some more steps away.)

Driver: *Hoooonk. Hooooonk. Hooooonk. Hooooooooonk. Hoooooooooooooonk.*

(He keeps on making angry faces at me and gesturing. I step away some more.)

Driver: *Hoooonk. Hooooonk. Hooooonk. Hooooooooonk. Hoooooooooooooonk.*

(With more angry faces and gesturing, I’m thoroughly freaked out. This is really weird, and there’s no one else around at all. The honking is just nonstop now. I take a wild guess and press the button for pedestrian crossing AGAIN. Like magic, the dude quits his gesticulating and lays off the horn.)

Me: *thinking* “Oh, my f****** God. Really!? That a**wipe really thought I was just standing around here waiting for a green light without having pressed the button?! And he was willing to scare the ever-living h*** out of me and wake up the whole neighborhood with this racket just to make me press that stupid button again?!

(Surprise, surprise, nothing happened after I pressed the button again. We both had to wait several more minutes for a green light, anyway, just like always at that intersection.)

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