christmas horns

L.A. 1930 fig.toward temple 1937One of my roommates ,way back when I was a college student ,  had an old  Volkswagon bus which I took out once into the wilds of Westwood . Westwood , where UCLA is , at that time  was an active place  . My roommate lent me his bus but warned me not to hit the horn .

I don’t hit the horn as a rule , but some jerk cut me off there in Westwood and , not thinking , I hit the horn . The horn beeped . That surprised me because I knew that his horn didn’t work . But then , immediately , the engine quit . The horn worked and the engine immediately quit . What ? And I was stuck .

” Make sure you don’t hit the horn ,” Don had said . ” It doesn’t work anyway , but it’s connected to the engine . Just don’t hit the horn. ”

” No , sure , no problem ,”  I said .   I was thinking : horn connected to the engine ? Huh ? You got to be kidding !  But , whatever  , I don’t ride the horn anyway .

” Don’t eat that apple , you two , ” comes to mind from my old bible studies . And don’t honk that horn .teens and car 1950s

I had to call my roommate ,  Don ,  from a phone booth .  The old VW bus  had stalled somewhere along a busy Westwood  street . I was ready to  answer his question about hitting the horn .  ”  Yeah , I know you told me not to . ”   Fait accompli . What’a ya gonna do !

Cars used to have real horns . Nowadays they have squeaky little beep beep horns like that little VW bus horn . I had to beep a guy today . Maybe that’s what triggered this post , these random memories .  The little beeps of modern horns won’t intimidate anyone . They’re like woosie little pleading squeaks : Excuse me , sir . Please sir , could you consider getting  out of the way ?  If you don’t mind . Beep.

Horns have lost their virility . Watered -down their identity . Weakened . Changed their role in society . Toned down ; softened ; become non-aggressive . Are roads  kinder now , though ,  more peaceful places as a result ?  Maybe so . Maybe not . You be the judge .

My 94 year old neighbor , another  Don , came up with a business idea a few weeks ago . It was on his mind for a couple of weeks . ” Horns .”  I felt like he wanted me to pick up the standard and run with it . After all , he’s ninety-four . He pitched the idea to me with hopeful old eyes that seemed to say :   How fast could I run ? I’m 94 . You’ll have to do it , Dan .

” Horns  , Don ? ” , I responded . Don explained his idea :  With more and  more cars on the roads the more times you’ll be cut off by reckless drivers , he said . A driver’s frustrations are bound to increase . The more need arises , then , for a loud  assertive horn , he said . There’s a market out there , he said .

Yeah .  Don doesn’t even drive anymore , thank God .

I had to honk at a guy today in Hollywood . He wouldn’t go out into the intersection as he waited to make his left turn . He hung way back behind the white line and left all that intersection space vacant . Our two cars could have fit out there , ready for the oncoming traffic to clear . If the light changed to yellow , we’d be able to make the turn . I beeped him . In Hollywood the traffic is horrendous and the left turn arrows don’t last long . You’ve got to squeeze out into that intersection just to get a turn in if you don’t want to be sitting  there waiting the rest of your life to make your turn .

So here’s a guy inexplicably waiting behind the white line . And I’m behind him . I’ll be here forever . Even his car won’t be able to turn by the time the light changes . What’s he thinking !

I honked my little weakling beepy horn  and the guy moved forward a little , enough for me to nose out into the intersection , too . What , he wanted  to be alone on the turn ?

Maybe my old neighbor Don is right , in  a way . Sometimes a real loud and  aggressive  horn would come in handy .  Shouldn’t we have loud horns ? Does that come under the Second Amendment rights somehow ? Or , is it First Amendment ? Eighth  ?

People told me after the Westwood experience all those many years ago that , yeah , Volkswagons are like that . Their horns are connected weirdly to their engines .  Well , no one told me that before I honked . But , I admit , I had been warned not to honk .

A lot of things in life don’t make a lot of sense , if you ask me .

Los Angeles folks tend not to honk much .  Not , anyway , since  car horns have been so emasculated , feminized , wimpisized , and cars have been stuck with horns that are mere satirical shadows of what they might have been , of what they once were . Ah , but things change !

That old Volkswagon horn was wimpy , too , now that I think of it . I suppose it wasn’t much of a loss , after all , when that little beepy horn  wouldn’t work  . I wish I had taken my roommate’s admonition more to heart , though .  Maybe I could have kept myself from hitting the horn .  After all , it  took me a few extra hours to get home when the engine quit . Well , we all have our little mini Adam and Eve moments , I guess, when we’re thrown out of Paradise for some spontaneousy stupid move . Eh ?santa in desert

Anyway , it’s Christmas . I’ve never heard  that Santa’s sleigh has a horn . No need , no doubt . He comes upon no intersections crammed with questionable drivers making bonehead moves . Santa doesn’t have to wait at busy intersections , watching traffic , waiting . He’d never get all the presents delivered if he did . I’m pretty sure that Santa never  suffers  such  frustrations as  dealing with lousy drivers on traffic-clogged roadways  or worries about  the histories and mysteries of car horns  . That’s , probably , one of the things that makes him jolly .

Happy Christmas horns , everyone ! ( French horns, and cornets , and little toy toot toots…….)Cabin Dec. 2014 angelus oaks 059

 

 

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One response to “christmas horns

  1. I had a Triumph Spitfire that had the wimpiest horn ever. When my daughter was learning to drive it, she honked at a pickup truck that cut her off and it was like “weep” – she just looked at me. That car also had a problem when it rained hard. You could run the wipers and the defroster but the defroster had to be on the low setting. If you pulled the knob that said “Boost” for the higher speed, the wipers stopped dead in their tracks.

    In NY, they honk. So much so that Faith took a picture of this sign – https://flic.kr/p/4bsMSz

    Happy Holidays – Merry Christmas – Wishing you horns that honk and wipers that wipe.

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