Had an experience last week in the side streets of Bowen Hills – in the middle of a weekday morning – that has convinced me road rage is getting ridiculous. Either that or people are just looking for any reason to be a dick.
We have probably all seen a road rage incident – yelling, swearing, aggressive tailgating, fist shaking, bird flipping, horn abusers. Just last week I spotted this from Mia Freedman on Twitter which apparently also took place in a suburban setting in Sydney:
Was in traffic today. 2 drivers had a barney. 1st one grabs a cricket stump from the front seat. 2nd one grabs a mallet from his boot.
— Mia Freedman (@MiaFreedman) October 25, 2012
Anyway, back to Bowen Hills. My cab pulled up and, as I went to jump in, a courier van pulled up sharply behind it. I saw the courier driver get out and heard him say something that sounded like ‘blah, blah di blah…love’ and assumed he was talking to someone on the phone. Only afterwards did I realise the comment may have been directed at me.
So as I hop in the passenger side of the cab, the courier arrives f-guns blazing at the cab driver’s window. Much yelling and swearing followed from both sides – but mostly the courier. Then the courier disappeared as quickly as he arrived. And I thought, alright then, interesting and unneccessary little diversion, but at least we can be on our way now.
But he wasn’t done. He’d just retreated to the back of the cab, so he could punch the crap out of the rear panel. (It was a maxi taxi – yes, as if things weren’t bad enough I was riding solo in a maxi taxi). Well, that understandably pissed the cab driver off, so out he got. Much yelling followed before the courier either ran out of puff, or the cab driver couldn’t be arsed anymore – but not before taking a few photos of the damage.
Now, I don’t know what, if anything, happened before they got to me but I got a sense the ‘issue’ related to some slight that probably didn’t occur. I say probably didn’t, because the cab driver seemed genuinely mystified and all I saw was the cab approach – no speeding, no weaving, and with indicator on – and pull up to the kerb.
So for the rest of the week I was all ‘ road rage is ridiculous’, ‘people are turning into irrantional [deliberate typo] little divas’ etc. But then the weekend came and while driving around on Saturday my car was seemingly invisible to no less than five
idiots fellow motorists across almost as many suburbs.
In one instance a car started to pull out of a side street directly into me – at some speed. He spotted me with a few centimetres to spare and offered a sheepish wave of apology. As I’d been travelling along a long straight street for a good couple hundred metres, I must have accidentally triggered the car’s cloak of invisibility for him not to notice me.
Yes, I got a genuine taste of why people can get narky in traffic. The thing is though: most road rage is over far, far less than someone nearly ploughing into the side of your car. And while I was feeling a little frustrated by my fellow motorists by the end of the afternoon, despite a serious near-miss, I wasn’t in any danger of punching their car in, running them off the road, or taking to them with a blunt object. There may have been swearing – nobody’s perfect!
So what I’m saying is:
When your road rage incidents give a city the size of Sydney a run for its money it’s time to chill the feck out! You’re blessed to barely have a clue what serious traffic is like, and despite the occasional complete moron of a driver (which exist everywhere – and more specifically in Baroona Road last Saturday morning) there’s NO REASON to get so het up about things. Seriously.
Thanks, your fellow motorist. (You know, the one in the invisible car.)