Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Grumpy Old Man - Not Tooting a Horn

Beep Beep

When did everyone decide that it is okay to sound your horn at any time of the day or night just because it might be convenient for you?

I recall, from somewhere that it was actually illegal to sound your horn except in a matter of an emergency? Part of the justification for that was that otherwise people might be less likely to treat the horn sounding as that of sounding an emergency situation. It also disturbs people and might startle them. Would you walk up to a 90-year-old-man or woman and sound an air horn?

This might sound like an extreme comparison however for quite a while I have found more and more cars where when the alarm is turned off or on the horn sounds. This is not a gentle tap on the horn but a full blown blaring of the horn. I get most grumpy when it isn't the "beep beep" like the VW Bug of old, but when it is the nearly air horn quality horn of the large pick-up truck or large SUV. Walk down the sidewalk of a small shopping centre and well after the vehicle has parked and the driver has exited, the horn blares! The driver having walked away and even while entering the shop heading for a frozen slush or chocolate bar or that 6-pack at the liquor store pushes the little button on his key chain to engage the car alarm and "HONK!!!!"

That sound no doubt comforting to the driver in that they know their prized chariot is now electronically protected. They didn't even have to turn their head to tell that the alarm set for they heard it engage. Of course anyone walking by the car, truck, van, or SUV got an earful of horn. Of course on the way back to the car... "HONK!!!!" And they know it is safe to open their doors without embarrassing themselves by accidentally triggering the alarm system.

Bad enough during the day, but you do get a fine sampling of horns if you are near any parking lot. It is more aggravating the later in the day after the afternoon is over. It rises making my grumpier for sure as it gets later. I know I don't like jumping when a horn blasts as I walk down the sidewalk. But on a quiet evening... and it doesn't even stop at midnight...

I first started getting grumpy about it when my past roommate and I started discovering that we both were being woken up at 4am each morning for no reason that either of us could figure out. We live in a moderately quiet apartment building and though not far from a major thoroughfare are used to that and the sound of traffic is not unlike that of a river - the firetrucks or ambulances do not wake us up. But something was.

Now I admit to suffering fairly often from insomnia and I found myself up before 4 am. It approached 4 am and "HONK!!!" it echoed from the parking garage under the building. I heard my roommate in the next room stirring, then getting up and doing what slightly older people do when they are woken up in the morning... well most folk I know have to go to the washroom when they are woken up substantially enough.

Now being an insomniac I have problems falling asleep so once I do fall asleep every moment I can sleep is precious. Being woken and robbed of that sleep very much pains me. My roommate had to wake up around 6am to go teach daycare and being woken 2 hours ahead of time is not nice either. I discovered that someone in our building worked a night shift and got home from work at 4am and when they parked their car they set their alarm and "HONK!!!" they were comforted to know their car would be safe for the night. Now of course it didn't bother them... they were AWAKE at the time. I wonder how many other people on our side of the building were woken up each weekday morning? (I really didn't care to sit up vigil down in the parking lot to see which car came in at that time. Call me a wuss but I really don't like my first meeting with a neighbour to be a 4 am confrontation when who knows how sober or belligerent they might be. Probably not something the police would interfere with either.)

Luckily they moved after not long. Interestingly people who don't play well with others tend to move around alot... they seem to find that everyone around them is unpleasant.

So just what is the point? My Dad's car flashes its lights when he turns the alarm and ignition disabler on. The lights flash when he turns them off. He can test the alarm to make sure it works, but he needn't do that every time. Now he does have to face the car when he checks to see the lights flash, but how much work and inconvenience is that for one person versus the inconvenience and discomfort caused to so many around?

Oh yes, I also live near one of those small shopping centre and luckily the bulk of the building is between me and the bulk of the parking. But as I typed this I heard at least two horns... perhaps the same car. But I knew I would and that was before 8am.

Of course - then there is the other thing... people too entirely lazy to walk up to a house and ring the doorbell or knock on the door. "HONK!!!!" Everyone look to see if it someone waiting for you! I really don't want to waste a moment of my life going to your door so I want to waste everyone else's time and comfort by blasting my horn so they have to check. That is bad enough on a residential street, but in an apartment building...

I really get grumpy and wish there was some way to complain, someone to complain too... maybe I'll figure that out yet.

~ Darrell

PS guess what I just heard?


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