Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been trying to figure out the all the useful purposes of beeping car horns. Unlike India (or at least Kolkata), where horns are honked seemingly incessantly, for everything from passing, driving too slow, passing too slow, and breathing deeply, here in Southern Sudan there seems to be a real purpose to beeping.
I’ve never really realized the full array of uses that a horn can have.
Here’s my visual representation of a small sampling of honking uses:
Hey boda boda / taxi, you drive too slow and I would like to pass you but this road is only 1.5 lanes wide. Would you mind moving over so that I can go around you? No, really... move. Thanks.
Hey car driving at me, now that this boda boda has moved over I'm going to pass him and even though there are not really lanes, it's pretty obvious we will collide, so would you kindly adjust your trajectory or at least swerve at the last minute to avoid a high-speed accident? Thanks.
Hey vehicles, according to the unwritten laws of the traffic circle, it is now my turn to enter so kindly stop your motion because I am proceeding even if you don't. Thanks.
Hey Mango Lady, how much is your fruit? And will you bring some to me so that I don't have to get out of the car? Thanks.
Hey lady on the side of the road carrying water, please note that we are about to pass you and take caution so that we don't hit you, as you're slightly close to the rutted path we need to drive in on the road. Thanks.
Hey kids going home from school, I know this road usually doesn't get much traffic, but there is a car barreling towards you, so please take care, hold tight to your notebooks, and vacate the road. Thanks.
Dear goats, WTF? I'm a giant Land Rover, I could crush you? Why aren't you moving? Why are you still not moving???
Such a versatile instrument is the car horn.