Honking

The wait is agonizing. Cars are backed up for miles because of a multi-car wreck on Ga. 20 in Forsyth County. Slowly, the wreck scene is being cleared so that traffic can start back up. In one of the cars near the front of the line, 85-year-old Mary waits patiently and gets ready to move. The deputy motions the cars forward. Mary adjusts her seat belt. Then the car behind her lays on the horn. No, really. He starts honking at Mary because she has failed to start moving within the first 2 seconds.

Stuff like this just make me crazy. Why would someone be so rude and obnoxious?

A couple weeks ago on a Sunday morning, I was traveling east on Academy Street in Alpharetta toward Ga. 400 and slowed down to turn into church. It was about 9 a.m. No sooner had I come to a stop in the turn lane when I hear a car behind me laying on their horn. Really? Sunday morning? It was a bit startling — even for Alpharetta.

Now, normally, when someone honks their horn at me, I either wait an extra amount of time before I move or if they are honking at me while I am moving, my speed immediately slows down by at least half — and doesn’t increase for a really long time. However, this time for some unknown reason, in response to this horn-honker who was in deep need of a winch to remove that ugly obnoxious chip sitting on his/her shoulder, I hurriedly and foolishly made my turn across Academy. Unfortunately, to my shock, half way across the road I realized that there was a car traveling west coming up the hill that was doing at least 60 and was about to T-bone us if I didn’t punch it instantly. We did make it across the street thankfully, but I was shaking as I pulled into the lot and disgusted at myself for allowing the horn-honker to place me and my family in harm’s way — and for what? 

I am curious. Does this have anything to do with who you think you are? Do you really actually think that everything around you — from the roads you drive on, to the appointments that you need to be on time for and didn’t leave on time, to the queues you are in at traffic lights or at the grocery store — is for your, and only you? Do really believe that you are the only person who counts and everyone else needs to drive a little bit faster or get off the line a bit quicker at the traffic light, or find their money a little bit faster at the cash register for your convenience, just because you are in a hurry or are annoyed, or late, or just because you are having a bad day — or a bad life?

How about if you become a bigger person and grow up — realize that the sun doesn’t rise and set on just you, and that maybe the reason you are angry or frustrated most of the time is because of your focus just on you?

How about if you consider that all of this really is not about you at all, and that your selfish, self-centered, disrespectful behavior shines such a huge spotlight on who you are?  “Look at me blowing my horn. I’m so important and you’re not, so get out of my way. Get a good look at me.”  

We do. 

So on behalf of the 99.99 percent of everyone else who never honks their horns out of impatience or disrespect for the people around them, for that .01 percent, the next time you catch yourself about to honk at someone, why don’t you take the high road instead and be patient? Take a deep breath and chill out. Chill, because you really are better than that or because you want to make your neighborhood and your streets a little better for everyone instead of a little worse.

Chill because you were brought up better than that; because you are really not in such a big hurry; or because you know that the people you are honking at are just like you with their own families to raise, or just like your grandparents who don’t need the be harassed like that. Why don’t you keep your hand off that horn because you realize that those people have their own deadlines to meet too and are people who have good days and bad days just like you.

Just try it. No more horns. No more disrespect. I know you are better than that. Just be better than that.

Be nice instead.

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