The car itself is a powerful tool.  It is this tiny capsule that takes me places.  Moreover, it is a bubble that allows me to be more significant and my actions to be more substantial.

For example, giving people the finger in the car is the only time I feel as if it is really actually giving them the finger.  It is saying “Hey man, fuck you,” as opposed to just giving it as a joke to one of my friends.  Additionally, giving the finger is such a rare occurrence for me that if I give it to you, you can be damn sure that you are very low on the Good Driver Hierarchy.

The best thing about my car is that while within the safe confines of it, the recipient of my middle finger can’t punch me right in the face, or at least it will take them a great number more steps to do so.

On the flip side, driving in my car grants me escapism as well as literal escape from my favorite form of escapism.  Let me explain.

I sometimes enjoy honking at random pedestrians.

I honk at a calculated moment in which they have only a split-second to turn their head to see me waving to them as I drive by.


I’d recommend trying it, but here are some things to remember:

  • It is important to really time it right so that they cannot see your face.
  • You will need to lean forward and really reach toward them, and wave frantically, as if you are both surprised and ecstatic that you happened to see them on your commute.
  • The honk itself needs to be two honks, making sure not to hold on for too long.  If it comes out honk honk, you are doing it wrong.  You should be aiming for more of a hink hink!

Do everything I said and you are going to be witnessing a very confused pedestrian in your rear-view mirror who, from my experience, will wave back half the time.

My favorite part about this pathetic awesome game isn’t seeing my victim’s dumbfounded gape.  It isn’t even my expectant hope that they will offer an unsure wave back.  No, the true glory of the “honking drive-by” is knowing that I just hijacked the thoughts of my victim for the rest of his or her walk.

Who do I know that drives a Honda Civic?

That’s the first of a series of many questions they ask themselves, inevitably leading them to fall to their knees:

Seriously, who WAS that?  I MUST KNOWWWWWWW!!!

I like to think that it is something that will bother them for the rest of the day, possibly keeping them up at night.  Or perhaps it might even find its way into that evening’s dinner conversation: “The strangest thing happened to me today as I was walking Mr. Woofers today…”

Whether this actually happens, or whether they immediately forget about me, the fact remains that this game wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the actual car.  Physically, of course, it facilitates a speedier getaway.  It is not a game I would attempt on foot, like poking a stranger and then sprinting.  But psychologically, like giving the finger, the car gives me that protective shell that enables me to feel safe to do things I wouldn’t normally do.

Sadly, though, this sounds a lot like someone else:


-Youngman Brown

0 thoughts on “Driving: Part III (The Car as a Sword and Shield)

  1. i`ve driven professionally and i know where you are coming from. waving to random strangers lightens the day, more often than not – makes them laugh.

  2. Wow, I like your honking and waving at strangers trick. Unfortuantely I have so much road rage, I'm the loud honker and flipping the bird type at pretty much every one who doesn't go as soon as the light turns green or who even remotely dares to cross the center line into my lane. I really need to get a grip!!!!

  3. One time I was driving down the freeway and everybody in the car in front of me was turning around, waving, smiling and watching me drive. It was like I knew them. But I didn't recognize the car or any of their faces (hard to tell through two windshields at a safe following distance?). Three years later, I still think about it from time to time… sometimes I wonder if they were just fucking with me.

  4. GUMBY!!! I adore you!!!

    Internet tough guys remind me of that dwarfy character from Family Guy who is always saying “Big whoop, wanna fight about it!?”

    I think I've done this.

    And I've also had people I genuinely do know honk at me, and done the same thing, because my brain has forgotten to remember them.

  6. I had to read all three posts to make sure I didn't miss anything. Brilliant series of posts!

    I am a good driver, at the top of the scale. I don't let distractions such as drinking a beer, lighting up a doob and a cigarette interfere with my driving. Picking my nose and blaring some loud rock music doesn't affect my driving either. And neither does reaching into the backseat to thump my kids on the head. I'm a great driver!

    But I'm left to wonder, does your drive by honking lower your rank on the driver hierarchy? The fact that you are looking in the rearview to see the dumbfounded looks takes your attention from the road!

  7. Oh, it would bother me all right. Not only for just the rest of the walk, but perhaps the rest of my day. In fact, I may even call relatives and friends just to ask who has that car? Knowing my nosy family, they'll start calling other people trying to find out exactly who it was.

    You just messed with those poor people's mind for weeks!!

  8. There are the kinds of games I like to play. On a more personal note, people that have their names somewhere on their clothing can be strung along for several minutes. Since you know their name you can keep talking to them like you know them. Most people will not admit that they don't know you.

  9. I appreciate your careful reading and compliment 🙂

    Yea I suppose that it does lower me on the hierarchy. Not only am I looking in the rearview mirror, but I am also speeding away.

  10. Are we going out??

    I suppose that I would drive, considering the fact that you don't.

    It is also not as simple as just driving to pick you up, considering that we live in different countries.

  11. When you explain the drive by honk in such detail, it doesn't make it seem so evil.

    Okay, no it's still pretty evil, but at least now I know WHY I do it.

  12. Oh, I think you SHOULD start poking strangers and running away! Now, I've got to try your honking (or “hinking,” that's a much more fun word) at pedestrians thing.

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