Jenya’s 1983 Toyota Tercel wagon was pretty sweet except it had one quirk: the horn didn’t work. And so it became a regular comedy routine in this car beating incessantly on the soundless horn in mock anger while driving around town – sort of a safe way to get road rage out of our systems.

Until one day, in downtown Berkeley of all places, we were at a red light and this old woman with a walker slowly began crossing in front of us. She was barely halfway through and totally blocking the intersection when the light turned green. Jenya jokingly bashed the horn – which was meant to be a private laugh between us…

…but for some inexplicable reason the horn worked this one time.

We were mortifed. The old lady, and several witnesses on the sidewalk, glared at us – in utter disbelief that we could be so cruel as to honk at a such a helpless woman.

Of course, the situation quickly became completely hilarious to me and Jenya, and just us, as we were the only ones who knew the horn was broken and our intent harmless. Jenya and I busted out laughing, and the horrified expressions from these archetypical over-righteous citizens of Berkeley made us laugh even harder. Everybody here thinks we’re the worst people on the planet! Ha ha ha!

The woman eventually reached the other end of the crosswalk and we zoomed through the intersection, away from all the hateful scrutiny and back to the safe haven that is Oakland, chortling the entire ride home.

About Matt Lebofsky

Musician wearing many hats. Played in a bunch of bands, toured in hundreds of cities around the planet. Also a general geek who works on several of the world's biggest scientific projects searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. Grew up in suburban NYC. Now lives in Oakland, CA.
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