Why Honk When You Can Fish?

By Phineas J. Stone

Few things are more annoying than the custom of taxi cabs and drivers pulling up to a home and laying on the horn, instead of simply calling or going to the door.

I have witnessed this for decades, and I will say that people don’t do this in other parts of the country – except for maybe New York City, but even that isn’t prevalent.

Certainly cabs are the worst offenders, and I can’t understand in this day of cell phones, texting and messaging, why they have to lay on the horn when the pull up to a passenger’s home for a pickup. As much as I’ve skeeved out about Uber, I have to say the ride share drivers don’t lay on the horn at 6 a.m. for someone that’s going to the airport.

Another horrible Boston horn perpetrator is The Ride for seniors, and any of the other elderly transportation vans and car services.

One of my favorite Boston moments came in the early 1990s when I lived behind Roxbury Community College for a stint.

It was about 5:45 a.m. on a summer morning, and outside someone was honking like a goose fighting deportation to Canada.

It was like some evil Morse Code, “Beeeeeeep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beeeeeeep,” waking up the entire neighborhood.

I was rousted out of a deep sleep and ran outside.

What could it possibly be?

Outside was a Chinese food delivery guy in front of some people who had just moved in across the street.

The woman of the house emerged soon enough in a bath robe, sleepy eyed.

“Is Jimmy here?” yelled the driver.

“No,” said his incredulous wife. “He’s out of town on business. What do you want?”

“Oh, you used to order all the time, and I wanted to say ‘hi’ and let him know I deliver here, too,” said the driver.

“That’s it?” yelled the wife.

“Yea, tell him ‘hi,’” said the driver. “I got to go now. Bye.”

And he sped off.

The whole neighborhood stood outside in bath robes, hopelessly awake, and listening to the early morning crickets.

At least he could have left us with some crab rangoons for breakfast.

  • ••


My neighbor told me the other day that the stripers are running; said he had gone out the other day and caught his limit.

There’s no sweeter words in the English language for Bostonians acquainted with the water than to hear that the stripers are in town. Few ocean fish are as sweet and tasty and good on the BBQ grill as the striper.

stripers are, of course, Striped Bass and they make their best showing in Boston Harbor every September after they’ve been fattened up in Canada and are on their way down south to warmer waters.

Now everyone has a theory on the fish.

Last year was just about hideous for stripers. Not many came into the harbor. This year, it’s all different. My neighbor said there were so many fat fish that it felt like he could jump in and catch them with a net out by Boston Light.

Since we’re all friends here at Mr. Boston by now, I’ll let you in on my theory.

It’s water temperature.

Last year was too hot. This year the summer’s kind of been a cold, washout. My years of fisherman’s wisdom tells me that the stripers like cold water, and they don’t come in when it’s been too hot and the water temperature is up.

This year, the water is a bit chilly, and here they are.

No one can get into the mind of a fish, but I’d say I’m somewhere next to the dorsal fin.

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