My beloved brand new Peugot was waiting for me at home after five weeks of being a New Yorker pedestrian. I hop in, turn the key, and nothing happens. Shit the battery has gone dead! Roadside Assist arrive within the hour to start my car and it is recommended that I drive for at least an hour to charge the battery.
So off I go on a mini suburban jaunt just me and my car.
Over the freeway, up the hill, down into the semi rural valley until it begins to cough and splutter and make unfamiliar noises. I stop but keep the engine running – nothing smells, the engine isn’t smoking – ok I’ll turn around and return home. Finding my way back to the long stretch of freeway when all of a sudden red lights start flashing that all systems have failed. The word STOP flashes every five seconds and then my brakes and steering wheel lock up – all while I’m doing 90km/hr.
So I slow down as best I can and as there is nowhere to stop on the freeway – no side lanes and it is chock a block with peak hour traffic. Crawling carefully and slowly, passing cars begin to beep, people hang their heads out of windows and yell words that would make my grandmothers hair curl.
Unfazed, I simply focused on not having an accident. It was almost as if every frustrated public servant magnetically found my car and javellined their poisonous day directly at my poor spluttering peugot. So I smiled and waved at them – blew kisses – did the royal wave – played my stereo full blast – sang loudly and danced in my seat. Interestingly enough, that made some people even MORE furious!!!
And then I thought – wow – how many times do we get angry with people when they don’t fulfill our expectations and we beep or yell or abuse, and they are simply focused on survival. It really made me think and see how quickly we judge – make up stories – and create pain for others – just because our story now looks a little different. I mean – how easy is it just to drive around someone and leave them be?
What a fantastic case study in human anger and frustration!