The problem with the common American car horn, by which I mean every car horn, is that it simply isn’t expressive enough, and yet it’s every single driver’s go-to method for on-the-road communication. Really, when you sound your car horn, what you’re doing is shouting to the surrounding crowd, “BLARRRRR!” and I think it’s important to bear in mind that it can never be more expressive than that. The difference is that, while actually shouting “blar” takes a certain sizable amount of exertion and, if you will, vocal prepping, the horn only requires that you haphazardly thrust the limb of your choosing in a generally forthward motion. Also, the surrounding crowd can only sort of make out your face, and you’ve got yourself a vehicle for making quick getaways, so you can feel free to look as insane as it turns out you actually are.
The problem here is that people have nothing but the horn–the “blar-shout”–to express everything they need to express, and if you sit down and make a list because you’re obsessive like me, you’ll discover that that’s a lot of things!
Off the top of my head (I intended to illustrate these, but since I have no scanner and not even MS Paint because this is a Mac, I’m out of ideas! Anyone want to lend a hand?):
-“The light’s green, so you can go.”
-“The light’s red, and you’re an asshole.”
-“The light’s yellow, and I’m an asshole.” (when someone in front stops at a yellow, that is)
-“I know you in real life, and everybody must be informed.”
-“I don’t know you at all, but please take this as a declaration of my intention to impregnate you.”
-“My car horn is broken and I apologize.”
-“I’m out of my mind!”
-“I think you’re about to die, just fyi.”
The list could go on, but you get the idea. There’s an entire spectrum here, and we can’t just keep summing it up as “BLARRRRR!” That’s why I propose we do away with the horn in favor of something more expressive. At first, I thought, “What about an intercom system that allows you to broadcast your own voice?” Then I came to my senses; surely this would be far worse than the horn. Imagine YouTube comments, but everywhere, all the time, and louder.
But what could replace the horn, being both more expressive and less obnoxious? After fifteen minutes’ brainstorming, the best I could come up with was a sort of amplified slide whistle noise (make it a tenor to avoid shrillness), so you could “rate” people and their actions up or down. It would also alleviate road stress, because let’s face it, slide whistles are delightful.
But I’m willing to bet someone out there has an even better idea, so let’s have ’em.