by Carolyn Tate
I’ve always been a bit of a Judgy McJudgerson when it comes to angry drivers. I have sat myself in the front passenger seat for many a year, tut-tutting or making theatrical sighing noises when my driver (mostly my partner) shouts, curses or makes inappropriate comments about other drivers, pedestrians and road workers.
Why can’t he just learn to be patient, I wondered. It’s just a few seconds – what difference does that make in your day? Just get Zen, man, and breathe.
Then came the daughter incident: driving along on a main road one day, out of nowhere, my four year old daughter shouted at a passing vehicle (while shaking her fist), “You fucking goose!” Perfect inflection, appropriate gesticulation – I have to admit I was a little bit impressed. But mostly outraged, honest.
Hmmmmm. Thanks, Daddy.
Then, around the age of 35, I learned to drive. Now, we don’t need to get into what kind of a person doesn’t learn to drive until they are 35 (a travelling, urban-dwelling one, that’s who), but learning to drive was life-changing in all the great ways you can imagine. I love it. I feel so free being able to go where I want, when I want.
Even now, five years later, I relish every trip where I am not at the mercy of bus timetables and train lines. But I have to admit, I have found myself losing patience with other drives, in exactly the same way I have seen in others.
And then recently, the son incident happened: stopping at a pedestrian crossing to allow an elderly lady to cross the road, my then two year old shouted from the back seat (with windows open), “Ugh, come on, doofus!”
And this time, it was my fault.
My first, self-preserving thought was that I was wrong to judge my partner for getting so fired up on the road, but then I think, why do we care so much? Are we in that much of a hurry? Can we treat car time as a great opportunity to take time out, have a conversation, sing a song, listen to a podcast? And perhaps teach our children some patience and some nicer vocab while we’re at it?
What do you think? Are you an angry driver?