A driver stops, swears at and then runs over a motorcycle, injuring two riders.
Another frustrated driver losing control of themselves, and popping with rage.
It is easy to laugh at them, and wag a mental finger. Until it is me.
My case was special. I ran over something metal, and punctured my tire.
Had to get back home before the thing went flat. But – naturally – some slow,
lumbering truck pulls in front of me and drives about 10 MPH.
It doesn't take me long to lose it, drive around him, floor the accelerator.
Of course, I get pulled over, and chewed out. But fortunately for me,
the cop is not city police, but a private security officer.
After a lecture, he sees the tire, and says, “OK, go. You have enough air to make it home. Go.”
Once I cooled down and apologized, he was satisfied, and heard my explanations of
“I have a tire losing air and just want to get back to my driveway.”
I think on this later, not only that it was good I didn't just try and run from that guy, which would have prompted a call to the city police, but also how easy it was for me to lose my cool and speed around a vehicle in the first place.
Everyone has a limit. Some reach it sooner than others. But with traffic getting heavier, vehicles of all kinds on the roads, and the roads themselves deteriorating in some cases (what kind of metal sticks out of a pothole, and is sturdy enough to puncture my tire?), incidents of road rage will only increase.
I also blame the computer revolution somewhat. With gratification a mouse-click or finger-swipe away, it is easy to demand the same speed in all aspects of our living – including driving.
But driving is the very definition of an intricate, complex, often frustrating concert of actions and reactions. We must look all around, control a moving vehicle, watch out for what all the other drivers are doing. Often times there will be a distraction – music, a cellphone, or a passenger chatting. My normal mode of operation is to “let the hothead have their way.” Let any impatient driver pass, or change lanes cutting me off, etc. Believe me, my language at times could melt a nun's ear, but I still let the incident go. The mantra is to “Drive defensively.” It is a struggle to get around sometimes. Seems like so many are willing to take risks these days. And I'm not guilt-free in that regard.
Frequently I hate cars and driving, yet can't get by without either. So the show goes on. And I pray to the cosmic forces or whatever that I can make it downtown and back another day without an accident. The biggest danger is not the steel-and-plastic vehicles loaded with computers. It is the wet-ware behind the wheel we must all watch out for – including our own wetware. Thanks for reading.