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Some consideration please

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The taxi had turned left long ago and was long gone, and so there I was with other drivers around me, screaming, cursing, punching my steering wheel and in a murderous rage

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I like to think of myself as a gentle spirit; that I am a calm, relaxed person who is patient, kind and accommodating.

Yes, as I said, I would ‘like’ to think of myself that way, but the reality is far from this ideal as there are a few things that can send me off the deep end very quickly; like on Friday afternoon when I experienced another taxi-tantrum.

I was frustrated at being held up at a green traffic light because the driver of a minibus-taxi was putting the world on hold while loading and unloading passengers.

This road hog was holding up a stream of traffic, so the cars behind him had to negotiate their way around him. However, when I drove around and as I got alongside him he had finished dropping off his passengers and simply drove off – forcing me into the wrong lane to avoid a collision. Can you imagine my frustration? It was then that the rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in gave way, and I felt a white-hot rage consume me.

I gave him a blast of the hooter – but that didn’t satisfy me, and my anger kicked up a level. I punched the steering wheel, and the anger was ratcheted up. I yelled obscenities that I thought I had forgotten, yet I was surprised and impressed at how well I pronounced “@&%$#”.

I was fuming. I honestly felt, at that moment, as if I could hurt someone (yes, that driver) badly.

But here’s the point – the taxi had turned left long ago and was long gone, and so there I was with other drivers around me, screaming, cursing, punching my steering wheel and in a murderous rage.

It gets so much worse.

I came up behind a car that was moving too slowly for my elevated adrenaline levels to tolerate, and suddenly I found myself ranting, cursing and screaming obscenities – that for some reason was flowing off my tongue – at a driver from another province. He was probably trying to find his way and was, therefore, driving slowly so that he could read street signs, which in Kimberley is a challenge all of its own.

Later on, while sitting in the kitchen, eating my sandwich I was embarrassed at my outburst.

Something inside me still tried to justify my anger toward the inconsiderate taxi drivers in our cities, but I thought of the driver of the car with the North West number plates who had also angered me.

How could I feel justified in screaming at him? I shuddered when I played out just one scenario. I pictured both cars stopping and, with both drivers enraged, we get into a shouting match which turns ugly. His friends jump out of the car and proceed to tap dance on my head. They break a few bones, including my jaw, which has to be wired shut, and I miss out on dinner as I am fed glucose through a drip in hospital.

I realised that one’s patience is not tested when everything is going well, but rather when people really get under your skin. We also have to realise that these days people have become intensely selfish; and intensely selfish people are always very decided as to what they wish.

They do not waste their energies in considering the good of others.

I had looked at the picture on the front page of this newspaper on Friday morning, and in retrospect, it should have prepared me for what happened later that day.

The city centre was strewn with litter because ‘someone’ had a grievance with ‘someone else’.

The story in the paper angered me that the frustrations of one party (the protesters) over the actions of another party (the Municipality) was taken out on a third party (the innocent citizens). Similarly, my frustrations at a taxi driver boiled over at an innocent third party.

It’s as if I couldn’t tolerate a taxi driver’s self-centeredness because it prevented me from having my own way. Think about that for a moment.

It reminded of something we used to say at primary school when we were accused of something: “When you point at me, there are three fingers pointing back at you and one finger pointing at God.”