It was a sunny Monday morning, outside Poughkeepsie, New York, and I was just leaving the customer. Stopped at a red light, I noticed the mini-van stopped in front of me had a bumper sticker that said “Honk If You Love Jesus”. It just seemed like a right thing to do, so I yanked the air horn cord.
Instantly, the male driver jumped out of the battered little van, flipped me the bird, and screamed that the light was still red! So was my face, as the light turned green.
A few years later, tooling down I-35 south of Austin, Texas, I was in the right lane, just enjoying the drive. As another van passed me in the left lane, I observed three very small arms out the window, flashing me the international sign for blowing the horn. I did, letting the four roof-mounted bugles say what they’re meant to say.
Unfortunately, the lady driving the van was the one person not aware of what her three little crumb-crunchers were doing in the very back seat. When I hit the horn, she hit the roof, and I could see the hair standing up on the back of her head. She wasn’t wrong, either. Much older, for a moment, but not wrong!
One day near Jacksonville, Florida, I decided to refresh my coffee cup. The weather was clear, and coffee in the cup was cold. Casually tossing the old coffee out the window, I was suddenly confronted with the piercing noise of a car horn, right below my elbow. Although there was some uncertainty of the driver’s sex, there was no doubt about the one-finger wave out the driver’s window.
From then on, I’ve always checked, but even that has its downside. A few years later, I was about to throw out the cold coffee, and saw no other traffic. Just as I lifted the cup toward the open window, a car came out from behind me, and I immediately stopped the cup in motion. Unfortunately, the coffee did not stop, spilling directly into my lap.
At the famous—or perhaps I should say infamous—Union 76 Truckstop in Ontario, California, I was awakened one night by the sound of a speeding truck and a blasting airhorn. Glancing out the window, I caught sight of a cabover freightliner pulling a flatbed in front of the parking row. On the trailer, perilously unaware of the danger, several off-duty drivers and their girlfriends were enjoying last call from a nearby bar. I know they were girlfriends because no self-respecting lot lizard would be riding on a flatbed.
At an air show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota some years ago, we waited impatiently for the arrival of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Sitting near me on the flight line was a distinguished looking couple who would look more out of place only at a truckstop than they did surrounded by warbirds. On the other side of me was a small group of bikers, wearing do-rags and colors. They too looked a little out of place, surrounded by a community of aviators, but some were wearing campaign ribbons from Vietnam.
Suddenly and without warning, the entire Blue Angels squadron came screaming over the grandstands at 500 miles an hour. The grandstands shook like an earthquake, and the noise was thrilling as it was unbearable. That’s when the distinguished looking woman shrieked, “What’s that awful noise?!?”
“THAT…” one of the bikers yelled back at her, “IS THE SOUND OF FREEDOM!”
And that is truly a blast!
You can reach Roger at [email protected].