By Tom Boyd
Beep! Beep! Silence your honk!
January 10, 2008 —
Vail may be small, but we’re not a one-honk town.
Actually, we’re a no-honk town.
It's not that we lack opportunities. Each time a rental car comes to a halt halfway through one of our ubiquitous round-a-bouts; each time I see a set of bedazzled eyes gawking through a windshield, hypnotized by our myriad Christmas lights; every time a mini-van fishtails onto Vail Road and nearly swipes me, I find plenty of opportunity to honk.
But I don’t. And most drivers seem to get what’s going on and leave their honking for the moments when it’s truly necessary.
It’s not that I’m against honking. Honking is a mysterious and wonderful thing. Through honking our otherwise mute vehicles come to life, and somehow in the subtleties of how we honk our horns, we can somehow communicate pleasure, displeasure, or say hello, goodbye, see ya later or, more often: HEY! WATCH the @#$%^ OUT!
Honking is cultural. In most Caribbean countries honking is a joyful thing, shouted out in staccato beepbeeps which embue a neighborly love of one another, an irie expression of community.
In India, honking is the norm. My driver in India used the horn as the default position, and expressed his displeasure by NOT honking.
In New York, honking is all about frustration at the immovable permanence of gridlock, as if to say, “WHADDYACMONWHADDYA DOIN up there?”
In Vail, we take this latter view. Honking is displeasure, it’s aggression, it’s bad news, man.
And so we’re not honkers. We may roll our eyes from time to time at the poorer examples of round-a-bout navigation, but mainly we lay off the horn. We leave that to the New Yorkers, the city folk, the people who are in real NEED of a button they can push which allows them, anonymously, to relieve all the built-up tension.
We live in Vail, or vacation here, or live here part-time, and basically we’re not really feeling the tension. We’re feeling pretty lucky, in fact, most of the time. And we show it with our silent, non-honks, all the time.
So YOU … yeah YOU!
WHADDYACMONWHADDYA HONKIN’ FOR!?!
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