Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Really Honking Nice Outside

I've been biking a lot more, recently, due to the great weather. I've lost a lot of muscle, letting the bike collect dust. I'm frequently panting where I shouldn't be, like in a museum or a church confessional.

Sorry, that was my brain slipping through my fingers. I've been studying a lot, too, tenderizing my gray matter into mush.

Yesterday, I rode home via the roads and not the trail, since it was darkening when I left. I had no problems until I got to the intersection of Metzerott and New Hampshire.

I got into the right lane, though I was taking a left, since both lanes were left-turn lanes. I was panting, to be sure, coming up that last hill on Metzerott, but I made time to look behind me at the car that was acting a little impatient behind me. I wanted to see if it was turning right, so I could give it room to do so, but they didn't have their signal on. I got to the top of the hill, finally, and stood in the middle of it.

I took some deep breaths and was jolted by two honks behind me. I whipped around; still no signal. I yelled, "Where's your right-turn signal?!" and moved over to the left. I couldn't see the girl's face as she turned right, but I yelled anyway "How else would I know?!"

After she made her turn, I settled down, breathing more slowly. I thought, wait, was -I- the a%hole here?

In Japan, drivers typically don't honk unless it's to say thank you or sorry. Part of the culture, I guess. Here, honking is usually aggressive, with some friendly/playful honking thrown in on rare occasions.

But it was pretty reasonable for the girl to honk at me. I was stopped, so it wouldn't be dangerous to startle me. She had to get my attention, as she hadn't thought to put her signal on. She might have just been trying to ask me to move, sorta politely. Her two honks weren't playful, like "meep-meep," but they weren't insistent, like "URRR URRRRRR."

Don't you think we should have two tones of honks? One for friendly, I'm-sorry-could-you-move kinds of honks, and another for HEY!YOU!GETOFFAMYCLOUD! kindsa honks. I'd suggest it to the car industry, but I think they might have other things on their minds right now...

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