Speaking of which...


More on the driving theme. A friend from out of town was taking with me the other day, and the subject of horn usage in NYC came up. He could not believe how much New Yorkers use their horns, as unsurprisingly, he was unaware of the unofficial language that has evolved out of the common car horn.

There are many different types, styles, and meanings behind New York horn usage, which to the uninitiated, may sound like little more than needless noise.

The Quick Tap, typically, is used as a polite alert to other motorists or pedestrians. One taps their horn three or four times, rapidly, as a way of saying "the light is green, go", or "the speed limit is 30, not 2".

The Long Tap often follows a disregarded Quick Tap. It is used for those who have out of state tags on their car, have wandered off into la-la land while stopped in traffic, and for tourists. While slightly less polite than the Quick Tap, it takes into account a lack of horn ethic or a lapse of attention, with a more forceful application.

The NY Standard Blast is a three to four second single tone, used most commonly as a warning of a potentially dangerous situation, or as a follow-up to an ignored Long Tap. Should you attempt to pull into a lane in front of a cab that is accelerating to the speed of light, you will likely receive a Standard Blast, followed by an explicative used in adjective form to describe a tourist, or driver from Connecticut.

The Extended Moron Blast, is typically used to draw attention to an imminent bad situation. If you are on the receiving end of it, chances are you are the potential or current cause of said bad situation. Typically five to seven seconds long, and occasionally followed rapidly by a second Extended Moron Blast, based on the severity of the bad situation.

The Ma Duce Salute is a series of medium-length blasts, the timing of which is very similar to the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, namely as it is used in a fashion similar as to that which a given motorist would use should they be equipped with an actual Ma Duce. It can often be interpreted to mean: "You are about to hit me.", or "If you think I'll stop simply because you are trying to squeeze into my lane, you are mistaken. I will take you out like a 3,000 pound Quarterback."

The Jersey Driver is the final, apocalyptic horn blast. If it fails, most New Yorkers go directly to the LA Freeway Horn and a clip of hollowpoints. As the name would imply, The Jersey Driver is most always directed at They Of The Yellow Plate, who can not drive. At all. Evidently, Jersey Drivers are taken aside at the DMV and labotomized, as it is the only way to explain the frequency of driving idiocy displayed by those who are unfortunate enough to live there.

With time, one learns the various combinations of these basic types, which can be used to communicate with startling clarity.

posted by Mr. Lion | 01/22/06 @ 00:48 | comments (7)