We Don’t Honk Here

We don’t honk in Tennessee. Unless you are about to be run off the road, or blindsided, honking your horn is a no-no. 

Why? Well, people in the South are very considerate and it’s hard to honk politely. The first time I honked in Tennessee was in a Walmart parking lot. I found myself honking and then yelling at the driver ahead of me who stopped in the middle of the road and didn’t seem to comprehend there might be someone behind him. 

I was somewhat surprised I didn’t get a one finger expletive out the window but I was also surprised that he seemed completely unfazed by what us Californians lovingly refer to as road rage. When he didn’t move, I became even more impatient and found a way to swerve around him but I didn’t drive away before I made eye contact to let him know I was utterly disgusted with his inept driving skills. Even after my horrendous display of hateful behavior, the man seemed confused when we locked eyes. He even looked at me with something that resembled pity which made it even worse. 

I have since learned that people in Tennessee are genuinely kind and they don’t have a shred of road rage in them. Sure, they might drive a little too fast in the rain and snow and they might occasionally drift to your side on a two lane road and self correct right before you drive into a ditch but they don’t mean any harm. They are pleasant people who would stop to help you fix a flat tire or give you a ride if your car broke down. They will help load your groceries in the car and wave when you drive through their neighborhoods like they’ve known you forever. 

It takes some getting used to but in two years my road rage is gone and I have learned to play nice while interacting with other drivers. 

When you come to Tennessee, lay off the horn, roll your window down and enjoy the sound of cicadas and frogs as you take in the twinkling  lights of the fireflies at dusk. Wave at the strangers that wave at you (they have no hidden agenda) and take a deep breath. You are safe, you are loved and you are home. 

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