Honking wedding parties -- exuberant tradition or unnecessary obnoxiousness?

I nearly got into a fistfight today, and I’m wondering what folks think of the situation that led up to it.

I should say first that, generally, unecessary noise annoys the hell out of me. When honking wedding parties go past, my reaction is not one of “Oh, young love! A wedding! How nice!” I tend to think, “Jesus, what a bunch of assholes.” This may make me a Grumpy Gus, but it’s never presented much of a problem for me, because the nice thing about this processions is that they’re, well… proceeding. Since their rate of travel assures me that it will be, at most, a passing annoyance, I put a brave face on it, and will even smile at folks as they go by, in a politic attempt at trying to hide from them the unpleasant truth about my estimation of their happy company.

During my perambulations today, however, I encountered such a party at a stoplight. A long stoplight, since they were on a lightly trafficked street perpendicular to major thoroughfare. Six cars honking makes a rather impressive noise. It made a bad impression on me. This was in an area with a lot of pedestrian traffic, and there was a large number of people within a few feet of all this noise. Some were visibly annoyed, not the least of which were the parents of two infants in strollers who were compelled to remove themselves and their suddenly crying children some distance away while waiting for the light to change.

Since it seemed clear that the party was oblivious to the annoyance they were causing, I thought it might be helpful to telegraph it to them. I covered my ears. Mistake. They seemed to think this was funny. Almost as a body, they left off their beep-beep-beeping and switched to holding their horns down for prolonged blasts.

I removed my hands from my ears, the better to give them the finger with.

Now the lights have changed, and the line starts creeping forward. Drunken young people are now rolling down their windows, (which they had presumably rolled up in order to insulate themselves from the godawful din they were creating, since it’s a nice sunny and warm day,) to tell me off. “This is a wedding, asshole!”

I responded in kind. The last car had a single occupant, who leaned over and made the universal knuckle-dragger “You wanna go?” gesture. (Verbal communication was ruled out, since all of his windows were rolled up.) I looked him up and down and decided, atypically, that actually, yes, I did want to fight this guy. (I haven’t been in a proper fist-fight since I was a youth.) It would have pleased me no end to bloody up his rented tux, even if the greater part of the blood was mine, as, in all honesty, would likely be the case. I gestured for him to by all means, bring it on.

All the other cars had gone straight-- he turned right pulled just around the corner, stopped in the right-hand lane, and started to get out. As I was walking toward him, he thought better of it, and got back in. (Not because I possess a particularly menacing aspect, mind, but because he realized that he was about to leave his car in the path of traffic.) He drove off, and I walked on, expecting him to double back and pick things up again. He didn’t turn up, and eventually I stopped and got a cup of coffee to calm down and reflect.

Am I a total jerk bent on ruining nice young people’s “Special Day,” or merely a non-saint for responding angrily to some self-absorbed pricks’ total lack of circumspection and consideration?

I just don’t know, and would appreciate being enlightened either way.

I don’t know if I’d have started a fight over it, but I’d definitely have been annoyed. I hate anything that whistles, beeps, whines, honks, or buzzes incessantly. Gah!

I don’t blame you for being angry about such antics, but not to the point of getting in a fist fight over it. You never know what a bunch of drunk idiots would be capable of. It’s not worth potentially getting killed over a few minutes of annoying noise.

Even at the stoplight?! Gee, how fun

I haven’t seen an entire wedding procession honking in a while, but I have noticed other drivers giving a quick beep to them. That seems like a good compromise. They can decorate the cars and if others wanna toot to wish them well so be it, them laying on their own horns is annoying and rude.

I may have a bit of an agenda with this issue though, I work in an industrial factory setting and powered material handling vehicles are equipped with horns as important safety devices. It bugs me to no end that most of the drivers beep incessantly at each other, to the point where everyone else has pretty much learned to ignore the sound, thereby rendering it useless as a safety measure.

As someone that lives in a house on a busy street, I vote for obnoxious.

Before I lived here, I never noticed how many major streets pass through residential areas. But now I realize that people live in a good chunk of things on the side of the road, and it’s not cool to make more noise than you need to. I don’t complain too much. I moved in here willingly. I’ve even gotten to like the swish of passing cars.

But there are some people who are hell bent on making as much noise as possible. Those are the honkers, the yellers, the music blasters and the Harleys (yeah, my bedroom pillow sits four feet from a Harley route- well, they specifically tell them to avoid this street, but they go up and down it anyway).

And it really is obnoixious, because it is not a passing annoyance to me. It’s an annoyance that goes on periodicly all day, every single day. It may be “just this once” for you, but it’s not for me. It’s not cool to stand outside someone’s window and yell, honk, blast your godforsaken music or ride a machine that is purposefully designed to make more noise than neccesary- even if your feeling celebratory (you and the other 2,000 cars that pass every day). And if you are on a street, chances are you are passing by quite a few people’s windows.

I know that some people are super sensitive to noise and it is particularly annoying if you have to deal with too much of it all the time. I also don’t like the idea of anyone driving after they’ve been drinking. But assume for the moment that there are designated drivers.

I’m the sort that would grab a tambourine and dance around the cars adding a vocalized “beep, beep, beep!”

I believe in celebrating everything every chance that I get. It may be just another blaring headache for you. But for these kids, if they are lucky, it’s a once in a lifetime memory. It’s their day to shine.

Most of the honking is done by friends. It’s a way of calling attention to the bride and groom (and themselves) and saying We’re young and happy and excited and isn’t life great? It’s an extended part of the mating ritual, if you will.

When they are leaving the reception, they are driving the first few miles of a long and amazing road that sometimes seems remarkably like a rollercoaster. But now, at this moment is the beginning.

And, of course, they are not going to be considerate of anyone else right then. There is no one else!

I’m not saying that you are wrong to feel annoyed. But for your own sake, try to set it aside and be the guy that applauds them as they go by. They don’t have to see the earplugs or hear what you are actually saying under your breath.

BTW, Larry. You are invited to join us in downtown Nashville when the Titans win the Super Bowl. :smiley:

I’m with the OP. As happy as I am for young people starting out their lives together, there are better (and legal) ways of expressing the joyousness of the day with their vehicles if that’s truly necessary at all. Decorate the cars and tie some cans to the bumper – the sound of cans bumping along the pavement stops at traffic lights and is considerably less likely to wake someone sleeping or give someone a headache than repeated and continual horn honking.

Why should anyone applaud other people deciding that their celebration is more important than other people’s peaceful enjoyment of public spaces – not to mention their own homes? It’s inconsiderate, foolish and unnecessary. Why should it be encouraged?

Unnecessary obnoxiousness. But then, I believe that the overwhelming majority of horn use is unnecessary obnoxiousness.

Another vote for obnoxious.

Obnoxious, and another symptom of the creeping solipsism of western society. Also, I vaguely recall that under BC law, it is illegal to sound your horn except as a dire warning that a collision is imminent.

But then, I am something of a young (now middle-aged, I guess, Fogey) when it comes to noise pollution. I view secondhand noise the same as secondhand smoke: unwelcome and unhealthy.

Obnoxious. I hate the honking car parades that sometimes pass through here.

I can’t remember the last time I encountered this, but it’s decidedly obnoxious. The fact is, total strangers don’t care if you’re newlyweds or not. Just go party and do it safely and quietly.