We think we are so damned unique. That we are individuals of impeccable distinction. It’s this damned country. We’ve been hypnotized into believing all this crap about individuality and independence is real.
We are such Pavlovian fools, such blinded robots. We are robots man. I see it all the time and today I saw a fine example as I walked along Sunset Boulevard during rush hour.
Let me set the scenario. Sunset Boulevard’s course through Hollywood is a 3-lane “highway” during morning and afternoon rush hours. Once designated rush hour “hours” are officially over, you can park in the 3rd lane again, thus negating that crazed 3rd lane passing and speeding you see drivers do all the time. People are in such a rush. Every hour is rush hour in the big city, it seems. What is the damned hurry? why do people drive so fast, why do they need to be so impatient? Nothing is going anywhere. People need to chill the hell out. By the looks of it, you’d think most rush hour drivers actually are important people whose duties are so precious that they literally must run over innocents in order to get where they need to be in order to…pour a cup of coffee and boot up their computer. Lame asses, all of them.
Anyways, so during the morning Hollywood rush hour, drivers are accustomed to using all 3 lanes of Sunset to make the most efficient use of their drive. People drive like roaches. They dart to the nearest open spot and floor it. This is how people are and they don’t consider their motives or actions. They just do it. Instinctively. Blindly. Robotic. So this morning a delivery truck was parked in the 3rd lane to make a drop, so the street was uncharacteristically narrowed to 2 lanes. Most rush hour drivers do not handle well that which deviates from the ordinary frantic stampede. They demand 3 lanes. They better get them! Any impedance is to be loathed. Well, a delivery truck has every right to stop. So this morning, the delivery driver got back in his truck after dropping off his package and began inching forward. One of the drivers who had heretofore planned on pulling in around the parked truck from the 2nd to 3rd lane was caught off guard by the sudden movement of the truck. He was stuck. He stopped and tried to switch into the 3rd lane behind the truck which was now moving, but the truck had to stop because a car in front of it was turning right at the stop light, but there were pedestrians, so essentially there was no movement in the 3rd lane. The poor sap who was trying to move into the 3rd lane couldn’t proceed further so he was now blocking the 2nd lane because he couldn’t move over. This is the way it was. That car was not going anywhere. Regardless, the car behind him honked before flying around and heading down Sunset. This left the car behind him stuck now, a black Mercedes, and the fucking driver just sits on the horn, a maddening, shrieking sound. It served no purpose. Other than to release the driver’s rage in a fit of disgusting uncathartic rush hour dramatics. He stopped honking once, and began again. Finally the pedestrians finished crossing and the car was able to turn right, thus freeing up the 3rd lane and the traffic flow resumed uninterrupted. Dickface in the Mercedes finally stopped honking (no thanks to him at all).
I continued walking but not without a bloated sense of loathing for these drivers. Such tools. Robots. Automatons. They don’t realize what they are doing. Car horns are evil. They are the scourge of the roadway. Horns serve a rare useful purpose that does not involve throwing an anonymous tantrum like a child. In fact, last week I had to use my horn for a real reason. This idiot literally took the merging lane to the very end and easily would have run me off the road if I didn’t stop. I honked to warn him but he continued his blind merge. I would say that people use their car horn as a means of useless rage at least 95% of the time. Sorta like what I saw on Sunset. A car horn only serves to express fruitless anger in the loudest, most disagreeable manner possible. Such a useless, pointless exercise. What bothers me most is the rote manner in which people dish out their honks. They don’t give the slightest thought to what they are doing. The hapless futility and ludicrousness of their bellicose actions escapes them. They are just angry. They don’t care about their own motives or logic. They honk like a dog salivates. Why honk at a situation that can’t be changed or reversed? Stupid honking. I notice a lot of people honk “after the fact” on the road in an expression of anger as they drive by the scene of their debasement. Who cares?
I’ve lived a self-contained vow for some time. I do not honk needlessly, I do not honk out of offended ego. I honk when it serves a purpose, a prophylactic against an impending collision. I don’t honk when the damage has been done because it is egotistical, nonsensical and groundless. Oh, and very weak. I’ve trained myself to not mindlessly resort to the horn.
In fact, this weekend I was driving with a woman through a coastal city nearby and a middle-aged woman in a PT Cruiser seriously cut me off. In the classic sense. She just didn’t see me. I was forced to pounce on my brakes. Luckily I’m an attentive and slow driver so I avoided rear ending her. If I was the normal Angeleno driver (fast, distracted), her rear quarter panel would have been history. As it was, I stopped suddenly while she moved on to the next lane. Honking would have been useless because she had already moved over. That’s how sudden her movement was. My passenger was incensed and pissed, which is normal. She asked me why I didn’t honk. I told her it was too late, why honk now. She told me so that the lady would know she made a mistake.
Hello? So? I really don’t care to teach lessons. I was proud of myself for not honking…instinctively, at that. I’ve trained myself well. I’ve integrated a sense of serenity when driving, which is a good thing, but pragmatically bad because it places me at odds with just about every driver sharing the road with me. People are addicted to anger, and when they sit behind a steering wheel, the ferocity is unleashed. I’ve deliberately chosen to stop being a robot. I’m mindful of what I do out there. There have been other instances where I didn’t honk when someone did something egregiously stupid or dangerous, or both. I didn’t honk because it would not have served a purpose other than to assuage my offended sensibilities. I don’t allow my sensibilities to be offended by strangers and people who mean nothing to me. This is a lesson I carry with me each day of my life, and perhaps, most drivers should try it. And non-drivers.