Sunday, July 12, 2009


The sound that greets me in the morning is the beeping of horns. ‘Toot’. ‘Tooot, tooot.’

I asked my Catalan friend why people are always tooting each other. He said there are a variety of reasons, but the main reason is frustration. Sometimes when you’re driving, you have to wait for another car, and the waiting creates frustration and the frustration creates the urge to toot.

I’m surprised that people allow their frustration such freedom. I’ve never seen a person actually beeping their horn and I do wonder if it’s a gender specific activity. That is, I secretly wonder if its only males who express them selves so loudly, or do the females also blow their own horns?

I have never beeped my horn in my car. I am from Australia and we do not beep our horn for just any old reason. It is quite a rude and aggressive sound, and to be tooted at can make people feel like they have done something wrong.

However, here, in Granollers, people toot and beep their horn like it was a musical instrument.

I’m frustrated. I’m angry. I’m saying hello! I’m bored.

In the Barcelona guide I have sitting on my desk, it says ‘remember, nobody toots their horn like a festive Catalonian’, and it’s true. The horn blowing was at its height on the evenings Barca won victory over Madrid, and Manchester United. Then I heard the longest tooting of a horn, and in car language, it was saying ‘Goooooaaaaaalllll!’

Again, as the traffic starts to get thicker in the afternoons at about four o’clock, the horns start to blow. It’s a phenomenon that starts off, often with a little ‘toot’. Then, someone else responds with another toot of an extended length. Finally there is a full chorus of tooting going on. It seems perfectly natural.

Since I believe in the maxim of ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, today I am going to beep my car’s horn for the first time.


Its my way of saying, in the car dialect of Granollers, ‘Hola!’

This article was originally posted in Revista del Valles, and you can see a Spanish translation on their website also.


K said...

Toot away my friend. Also, I encourage you to use hand signals where appropriate. I think it would be amusing to crash into the car in front of you - just a little bump. Just try it and let me know what happens.

Tiffany said...


They DO push into the car in front. Its just amazing. The person in front just looks unhappy usually for being in the angry person's way.

SO weird.