I honked at someone this morning. Judging from her surprised expression, she had no idea I was there.
Now, I feel bad about it.
In person, I would never “honk” at someone. They might cut me off in line or follow too closely as I walk the mall, but I wouldn’t say anything … at least not loud enough for them to hear me. But put me in a car, and I honk away.
I’ve honked at people who are about to back into me or come over into my lane. I’ve given a wake-up call to the guy at the stop light who, judging from the angle of his head, is either napping, looking at his phone, or praying. And I’ve blasted the person who zoomed by after tailgating me. That last one proved to be a scary encounter when Mr. Speedy slammed on his brakes. I thought he might turn around and come after me.
Recently, I’d decided I wouldn’t honk at people anymore. But then this morning, I broke it. I honked, and I think some young woman’s tender heart may have been hurt.
But maybe not.
Maybe my little honk inspired her to be a little more aware (of stop signs). Perhaps my honking in the morning prevented an accident in the afternoon. Because I pointed out her mistake, she could use that knowledge when the next driver might not notice her impending collision with his path. Maybe the tooting of my horn saved a life.
That might be a stretch, but it’s not a stretch to say we’re all in this together.
I once had a complete stranger come up to me and point out that my sitting on my boyfriend’s lap was inappropriate. We were in a chair-deprived public area, and he’d offered to hold on to me while we waited there. I felt awkward and silly, but I sat there anyway not wanting to hurt his feelings.
And in that crowded place someone noticed me. After I’d gotten up, she sought me out and said I seemed like a nice girl, but me sitting there with my boyfriend holding on to me didn’t look appropriate. It bothered me, but my little 16-year-old-self heard something in her words. I heard appearances matter– and I heard that I matter.
When you’re a kid and you see other people doing things they probably shouldn’t, and no one’s saying anything about those things, then you go with the flow. But she stopped that. This stranger stepped out of the crowd and honked at me.
She made me aware of something. She got me to take a look at myself and think. And in a little way, she helped me stand up for myself.
Have you ever spoken to a stranger like that?
I haven’t. I might see a young girl looking uncomfortable and unsure, but I’d never pry into her business or challenge her to raise a standard.
Why is that? Fear? Pride? Ignorance? Who am I to tell you how to live? Yeah, that sounds about right, but it’s not.
We have a responsibility to honk at one another– let each other know when we’re wandering a little too far. It doesn’t have to be an ugly thing. It can be an action of love– it can be me saying you matter, and I care. None of us have everything right. But some things that are obvious to you still elude me. I need you to speak up and share your thoughts, even if I don’t agree with them. It helps me be a better person.
So honk at me when I’m sitting at the stoplight daydreaming. Speak your opinion. Share your thoughts.
Even if it doesn’t feel good at the time, it is good because it’s real and honest, and the more we can learn how to hear correction or opinions from others and share our own, then the more chances we all have to figure out who we are and how to get to where we need to go without hurting ourselves or anyone else.