HoldenColfield May 14, 2013 12:36

One thing I hate is cars. Some of my reasons are monetary and others are not, but I do hate them.


For one, I hate the cars around me. Loud and obnoxious, or maybe that’s just the drivers, they are representative of everything that is Wrong in the World. Their larger cousins, trucks, are not only loud but uninterruptedly pour foul contaminants into the air and lungs of everyone around.


Then there are the horns. The inventor of the car horn has afforded himself a special place in hell and I hope that he is tortured there forever. In Shenzhen, the horn is abused as I have never seen before. Drivers use their horns behind glass which obviously affords them an assumed anonymity. That must be the truth because it’s impossible to fathom their behavior in any other way.


I have seen people honk at old ladies exiting a cab too slowly for their tastes. I have seen the same with little girls not moving through the crosswalk too slowly. The drivers in China also use their horns in a way similar to bat sonar. They will honk to prevent something from happening. Honking when approaching a bicyclist is considered proper behavior, and there is no shortage of bikes. In a given city block of space, a bike-rider will, on average, be honked at a dozen times.


But those are the better honks, because those are shorts bursts of loud noise, even if they do add up. The real noise Nazis live somewhere in my neighborhood. Parking is a problem here, because everybody has to have a car, cars being so great. A person who returns late in the evening is probably not going to find a vacant parking spot. Being the car-owning geniuses that they are, they simply block other cars in their parking spaces and go up to bed.


The problem is that these drivers returning home late are obviously on some different schedule than the people who got the good parking spaces. Guess what happens in the morning? At 7 or so, when these early-rising-drivers go out to fire up their car and get on with their day, a few of them find themselves blocked in.  But they are not defeated, because they have horns. Their method of remedy is to hold the horn down, for minutes on end, until the owner of the blocking car comes down and moves it.


It is a good seven or eight minute honk, usually straight through. I wonder if they feel uncomfortable doing it, maybe a twinge of guilt, but the fact is that they are never deterred. Everyone from four buildings wakes up. Babies start crying and the dogs go nuts behind locked doors.  I put the pillow over my head and hope the car-horn inventor, is at that point, receiving due punishment in hell.


I hate cars for other reasons, too. Better reasons. The car is a status symbol and therefore is part of everything that is Wrong with the Human Race. Cars are high tops in high school, played out over the remaining decades. What kind of car do you have? I just bought this kind of car. My boyfriend has a ___.


Well, just shut up and save it, I want to say to them. Don’t tell me what you have; it doesn’t impress me. Show me what you can do and we’ll talk.

For the past year and a half, I haven’t had a car. I have a bus card that also works for the subways. Gone are the days of car payments, insurance, gas and ridiculous repairs. (I once paid a hundred and fifty dollars to get a single windshield wiper working again.) The bus is a little slower, sure, but I have an iPod and I just kick back and enjoy a few movies a week, something I love doing anyway.


You can keep your cars, as long as you promise to shut up about it. But we need to have a chat about your horn.


Tags:Expat Rants & Advice Expat Tales


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cars are a curse of course, a blight on the planet, a blight on China. karzies a shit litany: major polluters of both sound and air (ineffectual security systems in the dawn); visual pollution too (in a prettily preserved town in Europe a 4wd dates the photo, placing it in the present Technological Dark Age. and can there be anything more architecturally ugly than a car park?); killers of kiddies, grannies and beloved family pets alike; killers also of native fauna - majestic bears and wildcats, lumbering wombats, kangaroos; cars make fat folk fatter - streets dead and empty in the West, desolate cause everyone drives and, therefore, more vulnerable to violence. on a recent visit to the capital in one of the beautiful hutong areas they were parked everywhere and anywhere, clogging the thoroughfare, constipating the dreamy back lakes... big black tin bits of shit, big trinkets for the nouveau riche. i agree wholeheartedly Holden my friend, cars are finished und the end.

Aug 07, 2013 12:02 Report Abuse



Honestly, what I read here is a teacher justifying their poverty through disdain for something they can't afford, which is something I can't stand. You aren't cool or eco-conscious because you don't have a fucking car, you're probably just some crumb-bum esl teacher who can't afford one. Same as someone whining about how it's better to live in some dirty village with chinese toilets because it's the 'real china'. Show me the P&G executive or embassy official who CHOOSES to live there because it's the 'real china' and then it becomes open for discussion, except that person doesn't exist. But for the ESL teacher who doesn't have a choice? not interested. Honestly people don't drive like that in the nice parts of china where respectable expat professionals live...yes I agree a lot of uneducated people in China drive like scumbags. But seriously, you weren't born into a 3rd world neighborhood, your choices brought you to one and you have no right to complain about it. For the record I don't have a car here either, but I don't begrudge the people who do.

May 17, 2013 16:00 Report Abuse



If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! I love my little car in China. Sure beats the sardine experience that is the public transportation system. Also beats getting gypped by the local cabbies. This honk's for you! *beep*!

May 15, 2013 10:00 Report Abuse



What kind of car is it? Impress me!

May 17, 2013 13:53 Report Abuse



BYD F0! Top of the line!

May 21, 2013 09:28 Report Abuse