Let me attempt to explain what it means to use your horn while driving in Madagascar versus here in the States.
Honking at someone in Madagascar usually means move over, I’m trying to get by. Let me in. Hello. Do you need a ride? But honking your horn at someone isn’t usually bad. It is simply a form of communication on the road and usually gets you want you want. Then you pass by, or get in, or whatever with a wave or a friendly shout out as you go by the person you just honked at. You see, a horn is used, not out of anger, but just to get where you need to go.
But here in the States, honking your horn at someone isn’t something you do. It’s rude and often done in frustration, impatience or anger. You don’t honk at someone just because you want them to move over for you or to let you in. I am pretty sure doing so would only make the situation worse.
How many times have I almost used my horn while driving here in the States these last two months? More than I would like to admit. It often looks something like this. I am driving along in the left lane and come upon someone driving slowly. This is the passing lane. You don’t drive in it unless you are passing or driving fast enough. So I want to honk. I am not angry or even frustrated. I simply want to let them know I want to get by. And in Madagascar, they would move over for me and then we would smile and wave as I passed by. I constantly have to remind myself that honking my horn here will not have the same effect and will be taken completely differently.
Each time I am out on the road, I am reminded that I am an alien here. I don’t fit in. I don’t think the same. My reactions to things aren’t the same as everyone else. And yet, aren’t all of us Christ followers in the same boat? Living in this world that we are called to be “in but not of”, we are aliens. We are followers of Jesus. And that radical life we are called to live that involves such things as loving enemies and forgiving all offences makes us aliens. But one day, we will go Home. And then the tales of our alien lives will come to a close as we spend eternity worshiping our Lord. I can’t wait! And in the mean time, I can’t help but laugh at my alien ways, especially when it comes to things like using my horn. So if you happen to see a black car come up behind you in the left lane and honk rudely to get by, it’s probably me. And that will be your cue to let me by and of course return my wave. At which point you would be allowed to laugh and shake your head at my alien ways.