A Stuper’s Toy

Last night I lay awake, pondering the relationship between the average car horn and stupers (that’s right – short for those aggravating stupid persons). I determined that the two were made for each other.

It started on a recent trip to Los Angeles. I walked with a group of people in a well-marked, clearly designated crosswalk on Wilshire Blvd. Even if you were blind, you’d feel its very presence.

Before making a right turn, a Ford Mustang patiently waited, at a red light,  for pedestrians to complete their trek to the other side. Smog was light. Shopping was plentiful. Life was good.

Suddenly, a silver Lexus stopped behind the Mustang and leaned on its horn for about the length of time it takes an average person to peel an apple.  In Los Angeles, people don’t just tap or beep, they lean and blow like contestants vying in an Olympian horn honking competition. One look at the Lexus driver’s half-smiling, half-silly face  showed me that this was no emergency. It was just a stuper enjoying his toy (insert expletive here).

I once read that a car horn should be used the same way as you would use your voice.  Just what was the Lexus telling the Mustang driver?

“What the hell are you waiting for? Turn those peds into pancakes already!”

The lengthy ear-splitting honk only made me want to plant my feet firmly to the confines of the crosswalk and take up the stride of a three-legged tortoise. Somehow, I managed to cross without incident. 

Was there a possibility that the Lexus motorist didn’t see the fifty or so people walking during what was a green light for them and a red one for him? (Insert banshee-like shriek here; don’t forget your earplugs).

Minutes later, at an entirely different intersection with different cars, I heard it again: this shrill blare took so long that I considered the possibility that the automobile sound mechanism went haywire. The horn must have either broken or been part of some sort of alarm. But in fact, a car was stopped at a red light. Behind it sat a queue containing six vehicles. Motorist number six was doing the honking. The lead car had failed to press the accelerator petal during the .005 seconds allotted to move once the light turned green.

Where I live, in the quiet countryside, people do not use their horns. I’m not kidding. Yesterday, I sat behind two cars, waiting to make a right, onto a highway. When the light turned green, the motorist upfront dozed comfortably and unaware. I could almost make out the pillow behind his head. Quail quietly crossed the street, squirrels took their sweet time stopping in the middle of the highway and snacking on nuts. No one honked.  Not even me. Eventually, the motorist awoke from his dream-state and moved.

Was the napping driver a stuper? No, just someone who had stepped away from reality for a moment or two or three and returned the moment he realized his mistake. It was not for us to punish him. Using the horn is a deliberate choice. In this instance, we simply chose not to.

Were the honk-happy L.A. motorists stupers? Yes! They lacked the necessary survival virtues of patience and awareness. They regarded their cars as suits of armor. While wearing the suit (or in this case, sitting in the car,) they maintained an air of false bravado. Remove them from the vehicle, and it’s a different story.

The car horn is a safety device used by intelligent, aware drivers to warn others of sudden situations. Our job is to use it only when necessary. It is not a tool or toy to be misused by stupers. Living in the country has shown me that using a little patience and courtesy helps me maintain my sense of well-being and keep the stupers away.

Thinking is a choice!



4 Responses to “A Stuper’s Toy”

  1. sondra says:

    Honking can be a sign of impatience. Sometimes just as I’m about to put my foot on the accelerator when the light turns green, I hear it. I feel like saying, “give me a chance already!” Gee!

  2. Jayne says:

    People don’t honk where I live either, unless it’s a polite ‘toot’ to someone who doesn’t see you or has fallen asleep at a green light, although by the time these polite tooters decide to go for it, there’s barely enough time to get through before it’s turned red again.

    Overall, there’s not really anywhere I need to be so fast that I would want to give in to the ugliness of blaring my horn! I agree with you completely!

  3. Julianne says:

    Horns aren’t big in the south either. When us Southerners hear one in traffic, we just assume it’s a Yankee 😉

  4. Theresa111 says:

    Just loved the part about, “It’s against the law.” What a hoot. Customer Service is dwindling. I just do not understand why merchants refuse to train their employees properly. Good for Vanessa and for that clerk.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.