In Cars: Happy Horn

     Gary Newman feels safe in his car; Freddie Mercury is in love with his car; John Lennon even wants you to drive his car. And John McCrea, well, I think he has an unhealthy obsession with cars. I mean, an. unhealthy obsession. with.   .   cars. To be fair, most of America has an obsession with cars, love or hate. And by that, I mean most people love their cars and hate everyone else’s.
     Personally, I’m a cyclist. I live in a [geographically] tiny city, and skydiving has ceased to be a
This guy hit me. '95 Civic, MA license plate: 9390
thrill. But I used to own a car, and may– in the next few days– once again experience the joys of frantically trying to find pants and keys in the dark of 6am to move my car 12’ to the left (if I’m lucky– more likely, I’ll move it 12 blocks) before The City decides to move it for me.
    Now, before you give up on this post as a rant about how people who drive in the city are dicks (which they are), I would like to point out that 99% of people on the road are not actively trying to run me over. In fact, many are quite nice, letting me in, stopping to look before opening their doors, not driving up on the sidewalk when I’m walking, etc. Like everything else in life, a few bad apples are spoiling it for everyone else. And by “apples”, I mean “angry white men, aged 23 or 45”; by “spoiling it”, I mean “wantonly aiming their cars in any direction which appeals to them at a given moment”. So, that sentence should read: “Like
everything else in life, a few bad angry white men, aged 23 or 45 are wantonly aiming their cars in
I'm the one on the left.
any direction which appeals to them at a given moment for everyone else.”
     But I digress (I predict this will happen a few times; bear with me).
Let’s do a thought experiment: you’re driving along Commonwealth Ave in downtown Boston, and– surprise!– your lane ends in one and a half tons of yellow steel, which, despite having wheels, is clearly not a car. But wait! The car on your left (which for some reason is driverless,
"I'm tired of digging, Michael."
like a less cool KITT) is letting you in. You merge, and to show your thanks, you give a wave. Which, through your tinted back window, looks vaguely like you’re giving KITT 2 the finger. So maybe you tap the horn instead. And the guy in front of you waves in a friendly manner. Um, maybe that’s not what he’s doing.
Waving merrily
      Whatever can be done about this? Clearly, cars need to come equipped with a secondary horn. A Happy Horn. Because, although it can be argued that the “tap” is a friendly horn, in cities it means, “hey, asshole, you’re not anticipating the light change fast enough for me. I have a red light up ahead I’m late for.” And that’s no fun. Also, for cyclists, it means, “this 18-inch lane marked with a stylized image of a bicycle is clearly meant for my right tires, so move over.” Also no fun. For pedestrians, it can mean, “I find you attractive, but lack the cognitive ability to express my feelings in a way that dignifies either of our existences.” This may be fun, depending on your level of intoxication at the moment. Again, I digress.
     So, the Happy Horn. First, we need a musician to create a tone that is short, but pleasing. But not so pleasing that people abuse it. I nominate Brian Eno. I hear he created the Windows 95 chime. Or something. Anyway, the horn should be away from the main, angry horn (to avoid confusion), but closer than the hazards (which, by law, are to be situated in the last place you look; if it can move every time you get in the car, all the better). We want to encourage people to use the new horn. Of course, if someone got the two confused, that would be pretty entertaining for the person he was mad at. But unless you count flying to D.C. on private jets to meet with senators to ask for a bailout, automakers don’t seem to have that kind of sense of humor.
     Anyone who wants to team up with Brian Eno to make this a reality has my blessing. For the good of first world humanity, go forth and create! Also, if Eno is busy, I suppose you can use someone else. But having a celebrity involved with your project wouldn’t hurt its chances. I know firsthand (but that’s another story).

     Now that the Happy Horn is installed and ready to recognize acts of kindness, and beauty in general, there’s twice as much noise on the streets. Every cloud has a bitter aftertaste (it’s the silver in the lining). Do not fret! I have a solution! Which I will come up with by next week! With more drawings! And plenty of exclamation marks! What? You don’t like exclamation marks‽ (Yeah, that’s an interrobang!) OK! Less exclamation marks next week!

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