Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reasons why you should not honk your horn.

The other day we went to the beach. I know, I know......"You live in Hawaii." you are thinking to yourself. "WHAT ELSE IS NEW."

But as we were packing up the car to leave right around noon, the most extraordinary thing happened.

Now, when you go on vacation to paradise, you expect to see lots of amazing things. Beautiful things. Jaw-dropping things that you describe over and over again when you get home.
And these tourists I am going to tell you about got all that and more. Lucky bastards.

The beach that we were leaving was one of a string of beaches that extend all the way down the southern coast of the island - a series of coves, swaths of white sand, swaying palms....and some traffic. Not a lot of traffic, mind you. But there is one road on which to get to all the beaches, so, you know, there is a little traffic.

As we loaded up the back of the car I heard a sound I hadn't heard in quite some time. There was a car honking.

People do not honk here. You almost never hear honking. You know how, in cities, the second a light turns green the drivers start honking? We don't do that here. If you honk, it is because you are about to die. And not necessarily from a car accident, as we shall learn in a moment.

After the first few honks, I became concerned, and walked towards the roadway to look down the street in the direction of the honking. I was joined by perhaps a dozen other people, from families picnicking in the park, to the homeless guy who wandered into the lane of traffic to get a better view.

There was a small silver compact car pulled over to the right, about halfway out of the lane of traffic. There was no parking, and they were probably planning to drop off their coolers and gear before looking for a spot further away. Their signal was on, and they were pulled over as far as they could be.

Behind them was a larger black car. The source of the honking - which was still going on, by the way.
Have you ever stood next to a full sized car blaring it's horn? It is really REALLY loud. Have you ever stood right next to a full sized car blaring it's horn repeatedly? How about when that car - as if to make it's point, pulls directly up on your back bumper? How about when the full sized car, still blaring it's horn, attempts to pass you as you are opening your door, and finds itself behind the open door, with oncoming traffic, and is unable to get around? AND CONTINUES TO HONK IT'S HORN. What would you do?

You would get all Hunter S. Thompson on that shit, is what you would do.

Now, it all happened pretty fast, but that is the nature of the beast and all I can say as a word of warning is DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME (especially if your home is in Hawaii, as you will see shortly).

First, the big guy wearing just a pair of swim trunks will approach your car with his beer in hand (clearly not the first of the day) and punch the roof of your car while screaming at you through the window that you have wisely rolled up. If you are lucky, he will have relatives that pile out of the car and drag him away, while allowing him to continue to punch the car and scream.

Please note: He did not spill his beer.

Then, the women take over. They surround the car in their bathing suits, screaming through the closed windows about how there is no need to honk (which you have stopped doing for the moment - wise choice, that) and that they are just unloading, and to show some Aloha.

At this point, you might want to just keep your mouth shut. But if you say anything in response, THERE WILL BE MORE SHOUTING and MORE WOMEN WILL APPROACH YOUR CAR. At this point you may be saying to yourself "Is that a damn clown car?" No less than 6 adults have gotten out and it looks like there are still a few in there. You probably wish you could leave. You are probably starting to regret not just honking, but pulling up so close to that open front door. Because they can't close it now, and the traffic is backed up behind you and the guy in the monster truck right on your back bumper is enjoying watching you squirm. We live surrounded by tourists all the time, and usually we have to be nice, because tourism is the business here in paradise. The customer is always right. We put up with a lot of shit on our little island, and on our days off the very last thing we want is to put up with any more shit. And this? This is glorious. This entire situation is amazing. Beautiful. Jaw-dropping, even. We have all dreamed of this moment, where we just get out of the car and walk back and start screaming at the jackass who cut you off / is tailgating / refuses to signal / just pulled an illegal u-turn / is driving the wrong way down a one way / is honking for no fucking reason at all.

We are all enjoying this IMMENSELY.

So. What do you do? There is a crowd gathering. People are standing on the street. On the sidewalk. On the grass. They are watching from cars and bikes and surfboards. Young and  old, big and small, it seems like the entire island has stopped to enjoy the show. You are an ant under a gigantic magnifying glass - and in this sun you are burning up.

You are cornered. You cannot do anything until they move their car out of the way - which they will have to do with their door still open, a fact that several of them are explaining at top volume through your closed window while you pretend they are talking to someone else..

You are advised in no uncertain terms that you - yes, you - are indeed an asshole.

Your family in the car with you is horrified. Out of every window looms an angry face. This was not the view they had expected. Your wife consults her map, turning it over and over in her hands as though it will show her how to get out of this situation.

And so, you do the only thing you can think of to do.

You gun it.

With the tires on that rental car squealing, and the enormous engine roaring, you rip that open driver's side door right off the hinge and flatten it against the side of the car.
You scrape the passenger side of your door.
The pedestrians that have gathered in the roadway scatter like leaves from a leaf-blower.

A few details to consider:

You are on a small island.
Six people saw your license plate number.
Your rental car is now wrecked.
All roads lead back to the airport, or to a dead end. - Any way you turn, you are well and truly fucked.

But you aren't thinking about that. Which is why you drive a few miles down the road and park the car in a public lot and go to the beach. Where the cops find you shortly thereafter. You are surprised at their ingenuity. They are surprised that you thought you were going to spend the day at the beach after that dick move.

The moral of the story? Hunter S. Thompson is required pre-departure reading.
And don't honk at the locals.

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