There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The laying on of horns

The laying on of horns* is a transit practice found throughout the world in varying forms. In urban settings, this practice is used as both a symbolic and formal method of invoking spiritual awareness during sacraments and holy commutes.

In early times, the laying on of horns was an action that conferred blessing or authority. To wit, a loud blast of a horn conferred awareness of the horn owner's authority and the knowledge of the blessings of getting out of the way. Finally, in the Old Times bus drivers were ordained by the laying on of horns.

There is no other explanation. Last night, I rode home on a bus with a horny driver. We didn't get out of the 65th Street bus lot before the driver was standing on her horn, apparently displeased with the lack of respect shown to her bus, and by extension to her, by an automobile and its driver. We're not talking a little tap-tap on the horn to caution an errant sinner. No, we're talking a real hellfire and damnation blast. This was repeated several times on my 45-minute ride home.

I was ready to ignore last night's laying on of horns as a rare excess of spirituality but then a similar outburst occurred on the way to work this morning. As the bus was approaching the bus-only lane at the entrance to the Sacramento State campus, the bus horn blared "YOU ARE GOING TO BURN IN HELL FOREVER!" or something else intended to be equally frightening. Immediately, a big black SUV in the bus-only lane ran a stop sign and scooted away toward the parking lots.

Maybe with some more laying on of horns Sacramento Regional Transit can save the sinners riding alone in their cars or at least awaken the sleepyheads to the error of their ways. Hate the sin, but love the sinner, and all that.


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* With apologies to Wikipedia

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