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No punchbacks

Maybe it’s just me, but by far one of the greatest things about driving a Beetle is the Punch Buggy Game.

I recently traveled to Kansas City with a couple of friends with whom I had never driven in my car before. At our first rest stop just across the Kansas state line, some other people noticed my yellow Beetle. Even through the windshield you can tell the exchange that’s going on.

Person 1: [punches the other person in the shoulder]
Person 2: mouths “Ow”
Person 1: [laughs] “No punchbacks.”

At that point my shotgun realized that she was a passenger in a Beetle and started intermittently hitting me. As a result, inside the Beetle quickly became a no punchbuggy zone.

This delightful schadenfreude phenomenon happens everywhere I go. Not my passengers attempting to wail on their defenseless driver, but other people smacking their companions when they see my car. This isn’t something people out-grow either. You’d think that once people consider themselves adults and start paying their own bills that shouting “Yellow punchbuggy, no punchbacks” would become too juvenile. You’d be wrong.

I’ve witnessed groups of college students pounding on one another as I drive past. Even serious, nicely dressed folks going out to dinner will politely swat at their dinner companions when going out to dinner.

It makes me very happy that the simple presence of my little yellow car can make people drop their inhibitions and resort to feeling like a kid again.


No punch backs

It is several degrees of awful and vaguely sadistic, but I get such a kick out of driving past groups of kids and teens who then wail on each other after I pass.

Even college students and adults get into the act sometimes. It’s still nice enough out that I drive with my windows rolled down and I can hear the familiar mantra.

“Yellow punch buggy, no punch backs.”

In my family though, hitting one another was not acceptable. My mom took a preemptive strike against fighting in the car and we could only watch for Beetles and VW buses, accumulating points as we ran errands around town. One point for Beetles, two points for vans.

Giggling over the number of friendly riots my Beetle sparks, it made me wonder if any other vehicle incites this sort of competitive car spotting? Sure you can try and get a trucker to honk his horn by pumping your arm up and down as you pass, but I’m not sure if there are any other car-make specific game.

Does anyone else have any car-spotting games I’m missing?