Honking in San Francisco


Anyone from anywhere in the world will find driving in San Francisco for any distance greater than 4 miles a bit daunting.

We have many, many one-way streets, streets to be shared with streetcars, iPhone senses-numbed hipsters wandering across intersections, drunken street-people, horizon-obliterating hills, a non-gridded layout, and few free parking spaces.

Therefore, when a tourist, or any other sane person, goes down a street and sees a herd of lanyard-wearing tourists crossing a square you mean to traverse that seems to have suddenly changed bearing from southwest to dead south with double-parked cabs on the right lane and the left lane is marked exclusively for highway access s/he might let off the gas or tap the brake and …


I’ve decided the ability to negate all the legitimate reasons for hesitation and punch through with no doubt at 10 miles over the speed limit is the shibboleth of San Francisco drivers. Just as saying “Man-Chack-Uh” in Austin, or pronouncing “Houston” in NYC like the city in Texas earns you derision and sneers, deciding not to bore across a crosswalk at 50 MPH with pedestrians in view up a blind hill crest marks you as “no from ‘round here.”

Regrettably there’s no retro-honk. You know, when someone honks at you for stopping for a wheelchair-using citizen. You’d love to say “Listen, Jackass, I’m in the moral right.” But that’s just not how it works.