The Cause of Compulsive Honking Syndrome

The Ultimate Paradox

An excerpt from the Trolleybus of Happy Destiny:

Before a meeting with a friend, he inspired me with a title for this chapter, and he had already come up with an acronym for this common occurrence heard trip after trip in his cab, and on my bus: C.H.S., Compulsive Honking Syndrome, or as I jokingly added, a part of a person's Compulsive Horn Disorder, C.H.D.! A person with C.H.D. may develop C.H.S. if they do not catch the infection early on in their behavior pattern. For once set in the firing pattern of neurons, only through a meditation routine not unlike followed by a Master Jedi such as Yoda, can the disease be remitted. Or, perhaps, by now reading the Dao of Doug.

The good news, just in: each one of us can change our habits by awareness of staying true to who we really are, and not reacting to a perceived slight by an effing moron or douche bag. In slowing down my body movement by quiet time each evening, I get answers. Find your time. Can you do it in the morning, or is before bed better? In this case, I am an evening person. My do list check off is an up and atom energy best suited to the morning hours. 

I never would have known this had I not stopped to question and analyze why I was jumping to conclusions or rushing to judgement about a person, place or thing that at first appeared to be in conflict with my path. In fact, there are several common flow patterns that lead to Compulsive Horn Syndrome, and once understood and quantified, can provide the Dao (the Manner of Living) of non-reaction to breaking Compulsive Horn Disorder. Below are the situations that can trigger CHS and lead to permanent disability with CHD. CHP's usually cannot cure this disease, even though with a ticket or reminder, they can slow an infection:

Double Park Backup 

This occurs when looking for parking and just missing the space because you pass by a car getting ready to leave. It also can occur if car number 2 sees car number one attended and the brake lights are on in such as the motorist is starting the engine. Car two, the perceived offender, seen first by car three, or me in the bus, can't stand to be blocked in the time it takes car one to pull-away and for double-parked number two to take the space. If car two cannot make the curb on the first pass, beware of compulsive honking syndrome. Also, if car two makes the mistake of waiting for one to pull away, but the driver is just getting something out of the car, with no intention of leaving, car two gets the horn blast for blocking and waiting too long. 

I hear the long hard blasts all the time, and it is disheartening. Sure, the plan is to make SF for the Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous, the tech dream of tomorrow, but the density toll on wealth providing everyone with a car really disrupts the peaceful energy of yore. Especially with unrestricted ride share vehicles entering the city from out of county.

Open Curb Construction Sign 

This one got me last week. I let them have it with the tradition of Foghorn Leghorn, because my PA exterior loud speaker wasn't working that day. But all my sarcastic skill over the bullhorn would have been moot, as the car was unattended. The car was in a bus stop marked with construction sawhorses, the owner finally returning with take out after a few minutes of waiting. Truth be told, his flashers were on, and I knew it wouldn't be too long a delay for him to return. I got him with "photon torpedoes" my dash camera, as I took a picture of his plate and bumper up against the temporary bus stop sign. 

This is part of a class war between civilian city residents and city government. I must use my power as a civil servant wisely and consider the conflict I may be bringing to the table. I continually have friends come to me protesting unfair parking tickets and asking how to proceed. These incidents seem to occur with alarming frequency when I take a picture of other vehicles to send them a ticket. Is my issuance of a fine really impacting my passengers' safety? If driving defensively and leaving myself a space cushion of at least four feet, can I avoid a line delay? 

Corner Fire Hydrant 

This is such the cool place to hang out, no Muni bus driver or motorist should honk if someone stands here. We have our special hydrant at Fillmore and Geary, and another by Peet's at Sacramento and Fillmore. This Red Zone, usually open, is actually perfect for a quick stop and pick-up, and most pedestrians are cool with this space. It is scary however, if an intending pedestrian is pausing to cross on the light, and a car swoops in fast and furious to stand and drop off. It's a major cause for sidewalk, or street rage, the city version of road rage on the freeway.

Bus Zone Special

These are the guys that never check their rear view mirrors. Did you ride share drivers know a professional driver checks the rear view mirrors every five to eight seconds? This simple action would prevent those standing or stopping in the middle of a bus zone. We cannot come to the curb to drop off wheelchairs, walkers, or seniors needing the curb!

This would be a justifiable and morally responsible ticketed offense. It is an expensive mistake, and could simply be avoided if you check your rear views to see if a bus is coming. Thank You!

The Compulsive Horn Disorder manifests daily at this crosswalk. A following car, not able to see a crossing pedestrian on the cross street or side street, honks loud and clear because they can't see why the car in front of them is not moving. It's because the far side crosswalk is occupied. Please, dear motorist, accept the path experienced city drivers follow; a space of time of five to seven seconds is needed before the vehicle in front of you moves. This precious pause saves lives. Crosswalk lives matter.

Stale Green

Did you see the light turn green? If you didn't, it is a stale green. Slowing down approaching a stale green is transit safe. Speeding up is not indicated, and can result in finding out what your insurance deductible is for body damage to your car: liability damage to those injured or sent to the hospital. Leaving the scene does not make it any cheaper for your bank account or spiritual awareness account. 


This is the police code for a crazy person. Muni's code is 800. Blaring a horn at a mentally disabled person walking in the middle of the street can result in a line delay. The horn does not work to your advantage, but only add to delay as they stand and block your vehicle. Broken glass in the front door, a pulled windshield wiper, or kicks and dents in your fender are a high risk from using the horn in this situation. Stopping and waiting is best. A smile never hurts, either.

Change of Direction

This is dangerous and use of the horn may be okay. The signal of a horn is, please make up your mind. Granted, the person in the driver's seat is probably being distracted by a back seat driver, or a map being held by another person in the car. This almost always occurs when there is more than one person in the car. A single toot is best. 

Merge and Feed 

The horn will not be needed if you change lanes when spacing and pace are even. Cranking the wheel hard in stopped traffic only blocks two lanes instead of one. If you want to avoid being honked at, make your lane change early, or when the gap in cars is created when traffic starts moving and an inattentive motorist hasn't looked up from their phone. 

Indeed, texting by others has it's advantages when they delay in moving when the light turns green. You can use this advantage to change lanes safely and become a Jedi Master. This is the Dao of Doug on the Trolleybus of Happy Destiny.    An interesting visit:


Zen Zone

Everyone asks me what the bad lines are. And my answer is that none of the lines are bad. Timing is everything. Which is true for a stand up comic, a worker on an assembly line, and as a waiter or cook in a restaurant. So here is what most riders don't understand: its not what line you are driving, but when. For example, do I really want to be leaving Clay and Drumm on the 1 California line at 5:02 p.m., as Embarcadero Three's elevators are filling up to capacity, dropping hundreds of workers to the city streets to pick up a bus to go home?  

Or should I be at the other end of the line at 33rd Av and Geary, hours after school has let out, to be headed inbound in non-peak direction, only to arrive downtown an hour after most people have gone home?  

Do I want to be the first 22 Fillmore leaving after the bell at the Marina middle school, where hundreds of hyped-up middle schoolers with more hormones than they know what to do with, after hours of being cooped up in school, be knocking on my door as I try to pull away from the inbound terminal at Bay and Fillmore? Or would it be better to be leaving Third and Twentieth in Dog Patch, around 3 p.m., hours before all the blue collar workers around Potrero Hill start clocking out? And so it isn't what, but when that makes or breaks a good run choice at Muni.  

Or use these three simple words. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDXtFbSmBAg

Detour: Not a Bike Race in France!

What all my longtime San Franciscan resident friends point out, is the frequency with which horn blasts are now used on a daily basis in heavy traffic. Compulsive Honking Syndrome is an infection that seems to be spreading around any construction site when traffic is constrained into one lane. 

Good will hunting, an opposite action, by allowing others to go first, actually moves traffic faster without conflict. Don't feed the Gremlins!                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

'Find out more' button below links to Balboa Press, and my hardcover and softcover full versions-- public transportation

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