First of all I want to pat myself on the back for taking the high road and not naming this post “The Horny Question.”
I spent my late teen years in the Bronx. We lived just off of E. 233 Street which connects I- 87, also known as The New York State Thruway, and I-95 also know as The New England Thruway so E 233rd Street was a thruway between thruways, a four lane thoroughfare traveled by trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles – you name it!
Now this was a long time ago. Ok a long, long, long time ago. For an idea how long ago it was, I would walk on the street and guys in cars would honk at me. I told you it was a long time ago. Horns honking at me in the Bronx, and I guess anywhere, were the equivalent of construction workers and corner hanger-outers whistling and making kissy-kissy sounds. I lived in Manhattan too and had my share of these too. Did I mention it was a long time ago? In both cases, a lady (yes, I mean me ) ignored horns and Hey Babees
I believe the sound is called a chirp, but trust me, it’s a honk. I still ignore it.
Last month I spent a week in St. Thomas, doing genealogical research on my grandparents. I was determined to immerse myself in St Thomian culture. That’s one thing I learned – Jamaica has Jamaicans, Puerto Rico has Puerto Ricans, St Thomas has St Thomians. So now I can say I’m half St Thomian. It’s more succinct than saying my father’s parents were born in St Thomas. Sorry, I Digress – back to immersion. I stayed at a bed and breakfast owned and operated by a St Thomian,
and ate only at restaurants frequented by locale people and serving everyday West Indian food.
One evening when I returned home, my host teased me with “You’re not one of us, I see.” I was crestfallen. Seeing my face, he laughed. “I saw you on Back Street, and I honked my horn, and you didn’t even look. Down here everyone honks their horn to say hello.”
An elderly French gentleman I got to know had a different take. Although born in Paris, I guess he could be classified as a St Thomian, since he’d served as French Consul and lived on the island off and on since 1952. While giving me a ride home from the Caribbean Genealogical Library, he too explained the horn/hello custom. But he added an observation. “People here honk to say hello – but especially when they have a new car.”
And who said the French have a touch of cynicism? Not me!