Need some traffic Zen? Try Honku, short poems to channel your road rage
I live right near 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, a pretty major road, and ever since yesterday morning, when people started trying to drive into Manhattan, the cars on the road have been honking. Honk. Honk. Hoooooonk. It is starting to get on my nerves, and after a particularly loud, low, and really much too long honk, I complained about it, like you do, on Twitter. And, it turns out, it’s not just on my block that drivers are taking out their frustration on their horns:
Anna Orchard (@AnnaBCOrchard) November 01, 2012
@slaskow Dear everyone driving on 8th avenue in BK: PLEASE. Stop. Honking.—
Tyler Perry (@tylerlp) November 01, 2012
And 7th Ave. too. Enough. RT @slaskow: Dear everyone driving on 4th Ave. in BK: Stop. Honking.—
Second Ave. Sagas (@SecondAveSagas) November 01, 2012
But one friend pointed me to a salve: transportation writer and advocate Aaron Naparstek’s Honku — “the Zen antidote to road rage.”
There are only three
types of drivers – the insane,
the morons, and me.
When the light turns green
like a leaf on a spring wind
the horn blows quickly.
As on many fronts, Naparstek was years ahead of the city DOT on traffic-related haikus. Here’s the origin myth, which took place not too long after 9/11, when New Yorkers were just teeny bit stressed out:
Aaron Naparstek used to throw eggs at the cars blasting their horns beneath the window of his Brooklyn apartment. But after a terrifying incident with an enraged egg-splattered motorist, he recognized that he needed a new way to channel his anger. So, he began writing haiku poetry about the honking and taping them to neighborhood lampposts.
And, hey, this is Brooklyn, so:
Soon the local lampposts were wrapped in poetry composed by a variety of anonymous neighborhood honkuists. A new form of road rage self-help was born.
I feel a little calmer already. Here’s one that seems particularly appropriate for today:
Alaska’s melting –
hope your Yukon Denali
doubles as a boat.
Honku: The Zen Antidote to Road Rage,