Little story for you all. No idea if there’s a moral to it or anything, but it’s been a while since anything remotely interesting has happened to me, so I felt like sharing.
I don’t know whether you know this or not, but with my job, I currently do most of my work from home. It’s pretty idyllic; I get up at 8:50 for a 9am start, giving myself just enough time for a cup of coffee, spending the majority of my work day tweaking spreadsheets and answering support calls. On Wednesday this week, however, I had the bosses up from ‘Daane Saaf’ (That’s ‘Down South’, the South of England), so I had to go into our actual, physical office for an entire day. I’ve only been doing this working from home business for about six months, but already it was a complete culture shock to have to get up at 7am for the obligatory shower, shit and shave (legs, that is, I’m not in a position yet to shave any facial hair that needs trimming), and to actually get dressed for a change.
And already I’ve completely derailed my story. My point was that I had to drive home from the office in rush hour, which I haven’t done for a while.
Now, I currently drive a Fiat 500. I will complain about this car in greater detail another time (although don’t get me wrong, I do like it), but for now just bear in mind I am a little lady in a little car.
So the roads leading in and out of our town centre are almost constantly undergoing some kind of roadworks. At the minute, the council is in the process of ripping down what people consider an iconic part of our town’s heritage.
It’s a bridge. See? In any case, all that red metal is in the process of being removed right now. What it means for us motorists is that the roundabout the bridge crosses is currently an ocean of traffic cones, while the workers look at dismantling the whole thing brick by brick. As a knock-on effect, the bypass leading to this roundabout gets traffic worse than usual around rush hour, considering one of the lanes is closed.
You may be wondering where I’m going with this.
After an uneventful afternoon, I left our office and veered straight into rush hour traffic, which cumulated on this particular road.
The inside lane was chock-a-block. I was in the outside lane, because I am full of forethought and know that a mile and a half down this road, the inside lane becomes a bus lane. The outside lane was also pretty packed, and in particular, there was a rather shirty business lady in a Fiat Stilo riding practically on my roof behind me.
Now, we reached a point with a sliproad, where people would join the bypass. They would come into the left-hand lane, but of course some people want to be turning right soon, so they would indicate they wanted to come across the lanes.
The first car I came across indicating, I let into our lane, waving and smiling and generally trying to act like I wasn’t going to ram him as soon as he started moving. As the Volkswagen Golf driver thanked me with a friendly half-assed wave in the car in front, Lady Stilo behind started to gesticulate like a deranged monkey at the feat, right down to slamming her hands on her steering wheel.
Heavens, no! I’d let someone in! Surely now I must be burned at the stake? I continue snail-crawling, watching this women slowly erupting in the car behind me, while she drove so close up my backside that you couldn’t have slid a penny in between us.
I saw an opportunity in this. As our lane set off again, I noticed another car in the lane to the left indicating to come across. So I let her in, too.
The woman in the Stilo — who was dressed fairly business-like, in a suit and everything, might I add — actually swore at me then to “come the fuck on!”, still flinging her arms in the air.
What on Earth prompts people to act in this way in cars? Is it something about the enclosed space, or the fact that you’re in control of a machine that you could easily kill someone with. Admittedly a Stilo might take some extra effort, but still.
And of course, because she was getting angry, I was getting angry in turn. I glared at her in the rear-view and gave an angry shrug (if you don’t know what an angry shrug, it’s like a normal shrug, only with the inherent danger of pulling your shoulders out of their sockets). I turned my music up and took a deep breath.
There was only one way to deal with this, short of getting out of the car and dragging her out of hers for a wrestling match on the bonnet like in the opening sequence of The Faculty.
For the next five minutes while we slowly edged our way towards the roundabout, I let every single car into our lane.
By the time we reached the traffic lights, Stilo was so fuming you could’ve fried eggs on her face. She jerked into the newly-opened outside lane and sped off into the distance. She tried to throw me an evil look as she passed.
When traffic isn’t moving, letting cars who need to be in a different lane in is just common courtesy (provided they indicate, but that’s a rant for another day). I added maybe, what, a minute onto our complete journey by letting in as many cars as I did.
I suppose the moral of the story is not to allow yourself to be sucked in by other peoples’ rage and you will feel better for it.
Or pissing off women driving Fiat Stilos is more fun that it seems.