When a person uses the term “road-rage”, I immediately conjure up an image of some beefy man with a baseball bat smashing in the windscreen of another person’s car, while the driver sits cowering in the front seat. There is spittle flying, a lot of swearing, and probably death metal music playing in the background. It is for this reason that I was shocked and appalled when a passenger in my car accused me of having road rage. “What?!” I asked incredulously, whilst hooting at the stationary taxi in front of me and muttering curse words under my breath. “Seriously,” my passenger said to me as we manoeuvred around the stopped vehicle and she made an apologetic gesture to the driver. “You should really think about trying to control your anger”.
And that was when it hit me. Just because I do not physically assault the people that annoy me in traffic, doesn’t mean that I am any less affected by road rage than the guy with the baseball bat. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realise that 9 times out of 10 I have a bad mood due to something that has happened whilst in my vehicle. It is possible that this irritation may have increased with my move to Cape Town. Whilst I love this city dearly, I still cannot get over the fact that the roads and parking seem to be a bit of an after-thought. Never before have I had to wind through narrow streets that are treated as one ways due to the cars lining up on either side of them. Before leaving the house, I literally have to plot my route and decide in advance where would be the best place to park.
Just the other day, for example, I was put in a foul mood whilst trying to park outside the bank. All I wanted to do was park, draw money, and be on my merry way, but clearly the transportation Gods had other ideas in mind. The parking lot was clearly designed by a philosophy student as opposed to an engineering major, and it had as much functionality as a VCR in 2015. In order to get into said lot, one has to wait for another car to leave. However one cannot merely reverse to make space for departing car as there is a queue of other cars behind one’s vehicle. To add insult to injury, there is a parking attendant who uses the “car tap method” to direct you. “What is the ‘car tap method’?” I hear you ask. Well, it is a system that involves the man in the orange vest tapping on your car every time he wants you to move. I felt my irritation rise as I found myself in a parking two-step, with the car attendant tapping to keep beat. Needless to say, the situation did not end well, and a few choice words may have been exchanged with said orange-vested man.
This incident leads me to wonder where I would be if I were a physically violent person. Probably locked up in a small cell somewhere, being charged with murder for violently tapping a parking attendant to death. My point is, is that maybe I need to try and stop being so aggressive whilst driving. After all, the only person who is getting riled up is me... and the person who is in the car with me! So I have decided to take steps to minimize my road rage.
Step 1: avoid using my hooter at all times. Unless of course when stuck behind a stationary taxi. Or truck. Car. Bicycle. Wheelchair.
Step 2: keep the curse words to a bare minimum. At least while there are children in the car.
Step 3: avoid car-tapping parking attendants at all times. This will prevent the possibility of ending up in prison.
... On second thoughts, maybe I should just give up driving altogether!