Tuesday, 9 June 2015

DSTSS - the white man's rage

57. Become a less aggressive driver

Since my last don't sweat the small stuff post, a fair bit has happened.  I have been to fiji, am still living in the less than ideal situation but, more importantly, it looks like this house has been sold.  sure it is going for much less than we wanted, but in the end, it came down to everyone moving on, regardless of the cost. So hopefully in a couple of days, it will be unconditional and i/we will all start to look for new places to live.  I am both happy and sad at the same time.

it's really important for me to finish this project, as it was the house and the stress of the house that started me doing it in the first place, so the closure will be nice.  so, i am going to continue on till it is done.

here is chapter 57 (which i did actually draft some weeks ago)

I have a thing about driving calm.  Actually it's not a thing, it's a necessity for me, for those in my vehicle and other people sharing the road. I am not an aggressive driver.  I am not a dowdy driver, but i see no point in trying to prove a point on the road.
Being on the end of someone else's driving rage is pretty terrifying and it seems that people's egos become hurt and they need to prove a point by being aggressive.

So here's a few of my experiences.
1. I remember not long after i got my licence, i drove to the gold coast in my sister's cream corolla, it was 1983 and i was living the dream. On the way home, i remember changing lanes, and as a new driver, i didn't check my blind spot, and i accidentally cut somebody off.  So the drive went on for a bit and all of a sudden that same person zoomed in front of me deliberately to teach me a lesson and that was a lesson in checking the blind spot ALWAYS, but it was a genuine mistake.

2. Many years ago when i worked on the corner of boundary and vulture in west end, i turned out of the car park at the same time as a car came round the corner.  I couldn't see the car, cause it was around the corner, but by the time i was on the road, he was behind me and he was angry.  So angry in fact, that he chased me quite aggressively and i ended up stopping, because i was actually scared and hoped he would just drive on, cause it seemed he needed to get past real quick. He stopped, came to my window and started yelling at me, cause i had cut him off..... What the fuck. He was aggressive and it was unnecessary and clearly he wanted to teach me a lesson and i was shit scared.  but that was more about his displeasure than it was mine.

3. I was a passenger in a car when another driver did something - i don't even remember what it was. they may have merged into our lane, or cut in too close, or yelled at us because we may have done the same.  But it was nothing that warranted the driver of the car i was in to chase this person down and stop them and share an aggressive altercation.  I was scared and the other person was scared.  What the fuck.  Well this person needed to be taught a lesson didn't they.

I just don't understand what it is about people behind the wheel of a car getting their cray cray on when they feel like they are being hard done by and the only way to respond is by putting everyone at risk to prove a point and become really aggressive.

So here's my reality. We are only human, we make mistakes and nothing that anyone does warrants an aggressive response - driving or otherwise.

I always like to refer to people's stories.  The things we don't know about another person that may make them do something that we may not think is okay.  And when driving, what's to say that someone doesn't have a story that is causing them to be distracted for a moment - thus causing an aggressive response from another person. I know i have had moments of distraction, but it's never intentional and it's never something that warrants aggression.

When i think back to transformational change for me, i think about what it was like to consciously think about the possibilities of what was happening around me, and to begin to walk in another person's shoes.  And now, when i am in a situation, where someone might cut into my lane, or want to merge in front of me, or rush through the roundabout, then i go...so what..... we are all in this together and as long as no one is injured, lets just go about our business.

having driven in both india and fiji, there is a different set of road rules that seem to apply but ultimately, it is done with a calm manner that ensure the traffic just flows.  it's kind of bewildering yet nice to see such chaos just flow.

At brekky a while back a friend talked about the white man rage - the rage that comes behind the wheel of a vehicle when another stupid driver does something you don't like. He reckons it's mostly men who suffer this ailment, but i have seen a few women go nuts behind the wheel as well. So according to chapter 57 of my book, the following happens when people drive aggressively.

1. you put yourself and everyone else in danger
2. your blood pressure goes up, your grip on the wheel tightens, you get into the white man rage - hello stroke/heart attack.
3. you end up not getting where you need to be any quicker.....that's right, you just whizzed past me, but here we are at the traffic lights together again!
Can you believe there is a checklist for aggressive driving?  Well, if you take the quiz and you favour the first column, then maybe it's time to take a chill pill.

For me, as long as i make it to and from my destination safely, that's all that matters and i bet you that the person in the car beside you may not even realise that you are feeling the way you do - angry, aggressive and annoyed and that's okay.  it's amazing how a moment in time can affect you and those around you, when you lose your shit and you could be the only one feeling what you are feeling.

Note to self:  If you have driven in a country like india or fiji, then you see how it all works harmoniously, regardless of what is happening.  so why not move with it, flow with it, take a deep breath and drive on knowing that whatever irritation you may have just felt isn't worth the white man rage - being on the road to a calmer self is so much easier.....for everyone.

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