Posts Tagged: Mount Victoria



Beep First

When you first drive through Mount Victoria Tunnel in Wellington, New Zealand it’s impossible to miss the fact that a whole lot of people are honking their horns for absolutely no apparent reason.

But there is, in fact, a very good reason for this display that’s led to the Mount Vic becoming known locally as The Beeping Tunnel; beeping your horn, it seems, is a game for Wellingtonians.

Devolved from drivers’ need to alert the pedestrians they once shared the tunnel with, ‘The Beeping Game’ involves a bizarre call-and-answer gesture of drivers honking their horns in order to prompt other drivers to honk back.

No winners. No losers. Just a simple little game played to make a few minute drive a little more pleasant (see the pleasure the kid in the video below derives from it). If one honks, one expects everyone else to honk back.

But what happens if no one beeps first? Presumably nothing.

You can drive for long stretches through the Mount Vic and not hear a single beep. But once one person finally musters the courage/will/desire/overwhelming need to beep, a veritable symphony of beeps ring out in a wonderful cacophony. In that moment it becomes patently clear that most everyone wants to beep, but only after someone else beeps first.

Isn’t this absurd?

There isn’t a single risk involved in beeping first. None whatsoever. And yet still there exist a group of people for whom the fear of beeping first overwhelms their desire to actually beep.

And it’s a zero-sum game. If no one beeps, everyone loses.

Beep first and everyone wins. If everyone beeped first, the game would last for eternity.

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