Friday, 23 May 2008

A Spot of Road Rage

I clipped some one's wing mirror this morning. She was positioned in the left lane but over the dividing line; I had to pull out over the centre line to get past her. This particular road is very busy in both directions at 8 in the morning, so I couldn't pull out too far or I would have been in the path of on coming traffic. So I ended up just clipping her mirror. Not a huge collision, but wing mirrors always sound worse inside the car. I quickly looked to see if I had caused her any damage but everything was fine. No biggy, it happens, that's one of the reasons that wing mirrors are designed to give.

Don't get me wrong, I don't feel great about clipping her, but in the great scheme of things it really was inconsequential. So I drove on, or at least continued to pull up to the lights.

Meanwhile, the driver started to flap and gesture aggressively at me. I decided that I wouldn't make eye contact (she was flapping hard enough that a I could clearly see her in my peripheral vision). Not that I am a coward you understand, but really, what would be the point. The lady was clearly ready to wind herself up into a frenzy.

I have enough daily stress and aggravation not to have any desire to start my day with a confrontation over nothing. And what could I have said? If she hadn't started gesticulating I would have waved and mouthed an apology, but what more is there to say? There was no damage, no harm done and no need to waste time for either of us.

As the lights changed colour she positioned herself ahead of me and flapped at me again. I still ignored her and at at this point she either realised that I wasn't going to acknowledge her or her common sense kicked in and she calmed down enough to realise that she was making a boil out of a tiny pimple.

We both went on our way without the confrontation (and who knows how far she would have taken it). I was left thinking 'how sad that she had to be so uptight and aggressive over this, to the point where any attempt to acknowledge my slip and apologise could have inflamed an obviously tightly wound individual (perhaps she is a teacher? We are all fairly tightly wound at the moment!).

Are our lives so stressful and miserable that the little things that go wrong can send us hurtling into a hostile and destructive spiral? I will try to remember her moment of road rage the next time someone cuts across me from the left at a roundabout!

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