Road rage…

Is it a symptom of built-up frustration or is a spur of the moment reaction to road users not obeying the rules?

I don’t really have a Tibetan monk cousin. He didn’t really visit me recently and he didn’t really drive my car in peak traffic.

His name is Lama. Lama the monk. He obeys the rules of the road and never gets upset with taxis suddenly stopping in front of him, drivers who fail to indicate before they turn or inconsiderate idiots who speed in the left lane.

Lama picked me up from work the other day and drove on the N1 towards the M5. We were stuck in the left lane and we couldn’t move into the right lane, because Lama claimed that there “wasn’t enough space”.

I said: “Hey Lama! Here in South Africa we take the gaps when they appear!”

He said: “We are in no rush cousin. The greatest happiness consists in having tranquillity of mind.”

He let a few gaps in the traffic come and go, and then finally he turned into the middle lane. Unfortunately he made his move on an incline in the road, so he couldn’t accelerate fast enough. A car behind us had to slow down, so headlights flashed, hooters hooted and fingers flicked.

Lama smiled. I breathed deeply.

Lama maintained safe following distance from the car in front of us, but this space was just too inviting for others not to take. So, we just kept moving backwards (while moving forwards).

“Hey Lama! Flash your lights man! These people can’t drive!” I exclaimed.

“Breathe deeply cousin. Count to 20. Remember, the talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, who cannot speak, fly about freely,” he said while smiling.

Sometimes Lama made no sense! We approached the M5 and waited in the left lane queue to turn towards Maitland. While we were waiting in the ludicrous congestion, a few cars squeezed into narrow spaces to the front. They kept speeding past us and then took these miniscule gaps.

I absolutely HATE it when people do that! We must queue and they have the temerity to jump it! I used a few four letter words, but Lama kept smiling. My heart raced, sweat beads formed on my forehead, my pupils dilated and my hands were clammy.

“Learn to respect your fellow road users!” I screamed at someone long after they passed us.

Lama responded:  “Don’t consult the one who is habituated and hardened to evil doings.”

I looked at him and saw the smile fading ever so slightly.

“What are you talking about Lama?” I asked.

“Preaching religious truths to an unbeliever is like feeding a venomous serpent with milk,” he insisted.

“How can you not get livid with these fools?” I grinded my teeth when another person squeezed into a narrow space in front of us. When another car tried the same trick, Lama accelerated ever so slightly to cut the person off.

He mused in a slightly repressed tone: “The selfish don’t know enough of what leads to altruism. Who can say with certainty that he will live in the morro.”

Silence hanged in the air, before he said: “Much talking can be a source of danger.”

I noticed a tiny bead of sweat on his forehead. Another car squeezed in front of us.

“You filthy goat! How dare you rob me of my tranquillity?” screamed Lama suddenly.

The driver showed him the finger. Lama counted to 20. Then he turned the car around, drove against the traffic on the N1 for a moment, crashed through the barrier and skipped the island.

“What the hell are you doing Lama? Breathe!” I exclaimed while holding onto the dashboard.

He looked at me and said: “We’re going to the airport and then I’m going to the relative peace of quiet of Chinese oppression!”

All of us are human. All of us are frustrated. All roads lead to rage.

Deal with it.