Go ahead. Explain car alarms to me. I am firmly convinced that they are the biggest scam of the past and present century. After careful parking lot observation, I have all the evidence I need that this irritating invention simply gives the owners a false sense of security and a wholly unintentional way to make new enemies.
I’m sure many will defend them, but they wouldn’t change my mind. Hours of research have shown me that those screeching beasts have never done anything except wake the neighbors (that would be me) at 3 a.m.
I’m not alone in my angst. In New York City, the number of car alarms going off in the middle of the night and blaring for hours has reached a level that is prompting vigilante retribution. When I first heard this, I was gleeful but tentative. I pictured tires punctured, wheels removed, windshields shattered or worse. We’re talking NYC. Even I, a mellow Californian, am moved to consider acts of heinous vandalism when I am awakened or confronted by that hideous honking and wailing.
But no. It seems there is a code among inner city dwellers. The leader of the anti-alarm group is a fellow called “The Egg Man.” Showing what I believe to be extraordinary restraint, these vigilantes first leave a note on the car and then, if the car owner lets it happen again, they smash an egg on the windshield. One egg. Seems tame to me, but Egg Man says it seems to work.
I suspect for the younger, single set there is the “I’m terribly cool and look at my cool car” element wherein the car owner can immediately turn all heads in his/her direction when they make it shriek upon exiting the car. That overly loud, unexpected honk has also prompted me to drop my grocery bags on more than one occasion. Perhaps the fact that it so readily irritates middle-aged women is also part of the sales pitch.
All that aside, I rank these babies right up there with leaf blowers, jackhammers and chain saws. Anything that you have to wear airport-runway quality headphones to operate has no place in normal living areas. However, those items at least do what they are intended for.
I can understand that turning on the car alarm might seem like a warning to lurking car thieves, but I guess I don’t hang out in high risk areas. I’ve never seen a car thief. I’ve certainly never seen one drop his slim Jim and run or even saunter away from a howling alarm. I have never, ever, ever seen anyone doing anything about the blaring of a car alarm (except cover their ears). More to the point, I have almost never seen the owner show up and shut the blasted thing off.
I do not “move a-way from the car” when those wildly insulting electronic voices indicate you might leave a smudge on their 30-coat paint job. It tempts me, in fact, to give it a swift kick.
Of course my attitude is seriously biased by the fact that for most of my life, I never owned a car on the top 10 preferred theft list or even one that was less than five years old. When I was younger, it was a financial consideration. Later it is because it would be a shame to destroy a nice car with squashed french fries, spilled Slurpees, sand, dog hair, paint, potting soil, firewood, bicycles, mildewing wet towels and the residue of occasional throw-up.
Now there you have some effective and silent anti-theft weapons.
Filed Under: Small Talk