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Nina In New York: Honk, Honk. That’ll Be $350.

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New York City Taxis (file / credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

New York City Taxis (file/credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
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By Nina Pajak

I don’t always get on board with the decisions of the venerable Taxi and Limousine Commission. Case in point:

But with this new fine punishing cab drivers for unnecessary honking, I have to hand it to them. They finally came up with a winner. It will improve quality of life for New York citizens rather than simply adding a bunch of junk to our cab-riding “experience” which we neither need nor want.

Okay, I can see why the cabbies aren’t happy about this. They need their horns, they say. People are on their phones and not paying attention, bikers come out of nowhere and pedestrians have their headphones on! Honking gets them to move out the way!

Yes, it does. Good point. That would be an actual reason to honk a horn. You know, just a few little taps to get someone’s attention. A, “hey buddy, get moving,” and not a “GET OUT OF MY WAY YOU *&!#!? #!$%@ [BLEEEEEEEEEEEP].” That’s why no one is outlawing honking or going to be standing in traffic chucking $350 tickets into drivers’ windows every time someone beeps.

However, honking at sleepy people on the road isn’t really the problem being resolved here, and I think everyone probably knows it. My guess is it has a lot more to do with the habit that some drivers around here have of leaning on their horns angrily and forcefully and constantly when sitting in inexplicable traffic. The inexplicable traffic that plagues every neighborhood in this city, and which is so consistent in certain areas that you can set your GPS to it. It’s bad enough to be the first guy who does it. But even worse are the people who join in, as though a chorus of obnoxious, mechanical bleating is going to allow that jackass up front to make his damn left turn already, or cause fifty cars to part ways for a double bus blocking an intersection. Yeah. Thanks. Good work. You fixed it.

In my opinion, anyone who does that, taxi driver or no, should be fined a billion dollars. That’s right, you heard me. Because it is annoying and it is stupid and it solves nothing and just makes everyone sitting in traffic angrier, and I can hear it all the way up on my very high floor in my very big office building.

Okay fine, a billion is a lot. I don’t want to be ridiculous. Let’s make it $100,000. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. Then no one will ever do it again. And anyone who does do it and gets the fine will obviously fight it and try to make a federal case out of the injustice, but then everyone will say, “you’re one of those people? Dude. You’re a d-bag.”

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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