When I was a child, you almost never heard some one lay on their horn. I remember the bus tooting it's horn with two quick toots as a kid if we weren't out front. Sometimes, I remember being in a field helping my dad with hay or picking stone (removing stones from a field that is about to be planted) and hearing a horn blaring. The noise was usually my mom who had a message for my dad, some cool drinks, or needed one of us kids for something. You would also honk the horn to get someone's attention to say, "hi," like a friend walking down the street. If you heard a horn, you'd look up and wave assuming someone was saying hi. For this reason, throughout the first 38 years of my life I considered the horn honk to be a joyous friendly noise....
Not any more.
Since I moved to Brooklyn, the sound of a honking horn has come to represent anger, frustration, impatience, and rudeness. Whenever anyone sits in traffic, they feel that honking their horn repeatedly will somehow magically make traffic move faster. Usually the offending honker is a middle aged man. It's also "pleasantly" used to get your attention so people can flip you off, shake their fist at you, or glare at you because you happened to stop for the people in the cross walk in front of you instead of barreling through them and making them bloody Brooklyn pavement pancakes. If a light turns green and you are not already through that light, a person behind you who was watching the cross walk signal and counting seconds has already laid on the horn. Also, if you are walking down the street holding the hand of the person you love and they happen to be of the same gender, it's so some "polite" person can insure that they get your attention to yell some homophobic slur. I only wish that they could hear my reply (usually something sarcastic like "at least I have fashion sense.")
In fact, when I walk to work, I'm frequently speaking on the phone using my headphones. If I'm speaking with my mother, she is always worried that some accident has happened because she keeps hearing people honking their horns.
Today's walk to work included a dime and three pennies on the sidewalk. I don't dare count the horn honkers. I do think, though, it would be fun to have a magic wand or super power that silenced the horns on those offending cars, or made some peaceful noise come out that calmed the driver, instead of them releasing their anger into what is a useless honking of the horn.