I was driving to work on my normal route when something abnormal occurred. I was in the left lane heading west at about 45 mph in a 35 mph zone (I'm such a rebel). A man in a red Chevy Silverado truck appeared on one of the side streets, and was waiting patiently at the stop sign for traffic to subside so he could join us in our morning commute. As I passed him, he honked his car horn at me. I immediately checked my mirrors to make sure I wasn't in any serious danger, or unaware of something else going on around me. After glances to my left, right and my rear-view mirror, I determined that neither I nor anyone around me was in any type of peril. My relief was matched only by my confusion.
When I glanced back a few seconds later, the horn-honker was emerging into the west bound lane and was quickly picking up speed. He wasn't driving recklessly, but he was definitely moving forward with haste. He caught up to the pack of vehicles of which I was a member, and again I heard him honk his horn. He was about two cars behind me, and I could see his silhouette in the early morning light. He wasn't moving erratically, nor was he gesturing at any of the drivers around him. I was indeed perplexed.
A few minutes later, I stopped at a red light, and the red truck pulled up directly behind me. After a few seconds went by, I heard it again. “Honk!” I was already looking at my rear-view mirror to see if he was making any gestures at me or was in any way acting like a person who would be continuously honking his horn on a busy street during an early morning commute. Not only was he not waving his hands or giving someone the finger, he wasn't even moving at all. He was sitting there perfectly still with his hands at 10:00 & 2:00, staring straight ahead with a blank expression pasted across his face. I still could not understand what was happening.
The light turned green, and I slowly began pressing the accelerator. The man in the red truck put on his turn signal and began to pass me in the left lane. As he drove by, I expected him to roll his window down and say something to me. He didn't. He just kept his eyes affixed on the road and tried not to make eye contact with any other drivers. I glanced toward his truck as he made his way past me, and in the window, was a torn cardboard sign that read, “NOT ANGRY, HORN BROKEN.” At that moment, it all made sense. I laughed to myself, and went on my merry way.
I started to think. What other signs could someone put in the window of their car to give themselves an excuse for doing something so socially unacceptable? Or what else could you advertise in such a way that could fully explain your automotive situation?
I imagined a Hummer driver with a sign in the rear window that read, “Not a douche, I just like spending too much money on gas.” Or a Ferrari with a sign that said, “Regular sized penis, enlarged bank account.” Or my personal favorite, the man in a Volkswagen Jetta with “Not gay, just a fan of German engineering” posted proudly for all to see.
All these thoughts put a smile on my face, and laughter in my belly. Then I wondered what sign I would put in the window of my Mazda 3 Hatchback that could provide ample explanation of my automotive preference and personality, in only a few words. Would it read, “No kids. Decent job. This car made sense.” or something more clever like “No bodies in the trunk, see for yourself.” I'm not sure which one I would go with, but I do think I would have to give it a lot of thought.
Each car I encountered on the road that morning was fodder for my judgment. There were many others that became subject to my vehicular pigeonholing. There was the man in his mid-thirties driving a Jeep Wrangler. His sign would say, “Holding on to my youth, hoping it doesn't rain.” The attractive blonde in the late model Ford Fiesta. Her car should be adorned with the words, “Too cute for this car, need sugar-daddy NOW!” And last, but certainly not least, was a man and his three raucous kids in a Dodge Caravan. The driver seemed to be too young to be driving such a domesticated procreator's vehicle. His sign would most definitely read, “Abortion, judge not lest you drive this car first.”
I thought back to the operator of the red Chevy Silverado. Was he embarrassed about the horn malfunction, and that is why he was so apt to keep his eyes to the front while he drove a vehicle that called attention to itself? Did he even realize how hilarious his predicament really was? I hoped deep down that he did. I even wanted him to get rid of that sign, and just embrace the vehicular defect he has been so blessed to receive. He should just ride around town, and each time his horn blares at an unsuspecting passerby or random car on the road, he should just stick his head out of his window and shout some sort of nonsensical allegation at them. I wanted to hear him say to a startled driver on the road, “Hey asshole, what are you doing driving on the right side of the road? What do you think this is, America?” or “Yeah my horn works, I bet you can't say the same for your dick!” Just imagine the story that guy would have to tell when he got home that evening. I could only hope that man would be me. I'm sure I could turn that into a decent chronicle of confusion and mirth. I know his cardboard sign allowed me to conjure up this anecdote, I can only assume something like that would make for a great narrative as well.