The Question of The Horn   3 comments

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!



3 responses to “The Question of The Horn

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  1. Ha Ha! Just think of the comments you might have missed by not using the blog title “The Horny Question”!!! On second thought, let’s not think about them 🙂

  2. your blog is getting more and more lively.


    Bob & Judy Schavrien
  3. It is so much fun to think about the different customs in different parts of the world. I love how you use the honking horn to illustrate so much. It is part of our human condition to use these ways of communicating.

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