GUYS. Oklahoma is different from Texas.
Didn't you know?
Loooots different. And I intend to write a post on all the fun ways it's different, soon. Working on it.
But for now, this.
PEOPLE HERE HONK AT EACH OTHER ALL THE TIME!
Now, wait. Before you think to yourself, "Oh. Or it's just her. And she can't drive," let me tell you. I CAN drive. So there. No, but really...I'm not a bad driver. No tickets since 2008! No wrecks since before that. (Despite the huge dent in my side door. I actually didn't make that. A tree ran into Simon. Or so I hear.) Anyway. This is a cultural thing.
In Texas, I'm pretty sure that getting honked at means one thing, and one thing only: *&*#%!!!! It's like car-ually flipping someone off, or cursing someone out. And people don't usually just sort of "beep" at each other. It's almost always a long, double or triple, hate-fueled blast that puts your teeth on edge and makes your heart beat faster for several blocks after that. It often signals a near-death experience, whether between your car and another car or you and another driver who would really like to kill you.
I HATE HATE HATE being honked at. Is that dumb? I always feel like I've been super-chastened. I try to car-slink away, and I keep tabs on the Honker until they're gone...I've even turned down streets I had no need of just to get away from Honkers. If I hear a honk, I jump involuntarily and jerk around, desperately hoping it's not me who has incurred the honk.
Okay. I'm not insane. I swear.
Anyway. It's not like it happens alot, in Texas. Once a month? Honking is reserved for SERIOUS emotions and/or situations.
But here. HERE they honk ALL THE TIME.
3 instances for your consideration. TWO of these happened TODAY!
1. As I was pulling out of our driveway today, I was focused on not hitting Simon's car, which was parked to the left of me. As I neared the street (NOT in it yet), I turned back to the right and saw an oncoming car. BEFORE I hit the street, I quickly stepped on the brakes. AFTER my car had come to a complete stop, that car swerved a HUGE swerve to the left (as in, into potentially oncoming traffic), and then after it had gone past my house and well gone, it HONKED. WHaaaaat??? What did THAT honk say? "I saw you almost not see me and I swerved and way overcompensated for your proximity BUT I still know you could have backed into me at 2 miles per hour!" ummmmm....what? Yet, still, I was blushing and sweating and super embarrassed. Honking stress!
2. Leaving the (very crowded) mall today, I got Lyla into her seat, and got into mine. I reached into the passenger side to grab phone and arrange my things a little before I pulled out. As I did so, the car behind me, which had pulled up and was waiting to take my space, honked. A little "beep!" honk. And I JUMPED out of my seat and did the whole look-around-ashamedly-even-though-I-have-no-idea-what-I-did thing. And there was this nice lady, sitting, waiting. She'd just good-naturedly honked at me! I had no idea that was POSSIBLE, but there she was, just letting me know she was there! So...what does one DO at that point? I had this insane urge to honk back, just a little "Hi! I see you there! Coming out soon!" beep. What in the world...?!? But still too much in Texas mode, I sped (safely) out of that parking lot as fast as I could (again, safely and DRIVING WELL), horrified that I just been honked at for the second time today.
3. This next one encompasses the 32 times I have been honked at at red lights, waiting to turn, etc, over the past few days. It's CRAZY. It's as if they have NONE of the same context for honking as we do, 100 miles to the south. Not meant to be offensive or even impatient, just...little, communicative honks.
Yall. This FREAKS me out and I drive around in a constant shame-haze, hyper-aware of my driving, worried that I've become the worst driver EVER.
Yes, it's me. I'm the one with the problem.
But still...honking. Do you do it? Lots? Or do you reserve it for emergencies? And...shouldn't we?? If you honk all the time, if you become immune to the Honk, what happens when we REALLY have an emergency?
I am not a fan of the overuse of the honk. Maybe it's just the Texan in me.