Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Margaret Sykes Armstrong | Why are Jamaicans so horny?

Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2016 | 12:00 AMMargaret Sykes Armstrong

I have a dream - that there is a tax on horn blowing. Each car is fitted with a secure, tamper-proof device that measures the daily use of its horn.

Further, there is a wireless connection between this device and the supercomputers found in the tax office of the very efficient and advanced nation of Jamaica. The supercomputers store data for each car with an issued licence and connect the information with the drivers' licences as well.

This very advanced nation of Jamaica has a daily horn quota. Stay within the daily quota and you pay no additional tax on your car licence. But each blow beyond the quota attracts a 'blow wow' tax added to your car license fee dat hot the payee. But don't worry, the quota is generous, and if you are a responsible and considerate driver, you won't pay a penny more (oh, yes, this is Jamaica - dream adjusts - a dollar more) on the very reasonable car licence fee set by the annual financial budget of the highly effective and disciplined government of the day.

It might be a dream, but it would solve many of my problems. You see, every time I drive out, I am either confused or bullied by drivers sounding their horns. On Monday, for example, I was approaching a stop light that was turning amber. I confess my crime that an amber light tends to speed me up, but I slowed down in preparation to stop, as I assessed that the distance was too great between me and the turning light to pass through without obviously running through a very brilliant red light.

 

AN UNSAFE DECISION

 

However, it seems the driver behind me did not agree with this tactic. He blared his horn - you know, one of those continuous, raucous, cacophonous, ear-splitting, jarring blows - and it seemed to me from my rear-view mirror that he did not want to stop with me.

Anyway, his horn was effective, and it got him what he wanted, because instead of continuing to slow down, I sped up and through the very brilliant red light. It was a stupid and unsafe decision. I risked my life and limb and have no one to blame but myself. But I felt angry, stripped, stupid, enraged. I felt bullied!

The thing is, it is not the first time. It seems I attract the bullies. Do you attract them too, or are you one of the bullies?

I have another reaction to people blowing the horn unduly at me. It is called road rage. Last week, I was leaving what might be described a housing estate and turning on to a major thoroughfare. As I waited for clear passage to proceed, a mother and young child crossed in front of me. The rogue driver behind me assessed the traffic situation to be such that I should have moved forward, and sat on his horn.

 

OPEN CONFRONTATION

 

You would be pleased to hear that the horn blaring did not cause me to plough forward into the mother and child, but it did cause me to get out of my car (with engine running), and walk over to him. He was confused and I was furious, but I kept my cool, because I was about to waste his time and frustrate him with my sardonic side that comes alive rarely but squarely.

Me: "Sir, are you trying to get my attention? Is something wrong with my tyre? Is my car about to explode or something?" He was confused, and then he became angry, but before he could say a word, I continued, "Because you could never be asking me to plough into that mother and child, or are you?" (and I was privileged enough to be able to point out mother and child walking in the near distance as I was demanding the poor man to admit he wanted me to run dem ova).

Half of your readers may be congratulating me and half of them might think I am very stupid and have no regard for my life. Looking at it objectively, it was NOT worth the risk.

And then there is the driver behind me blowing his horn not at me per se, but blowing because the traffic lights 20 cars ahead of him (it usually is a him, but sometimes a her) just turned green, but he and the several cars in front him did not move instantly. Surely, common sense informs that there will be delay, a time lag between the green light 20 cars ahead and your movement, even if you lacked training in physics or maths.

What am I doing wrong? I guess the more apparent their horn, the more passengers they bully inside their vehicle. I don't know.

It's a lovely dream! Sigh.

Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com