Lesson 51: road rage Where’s a fanfare when you need one? Or, better still, a town crier, because I have reached my biggest adult milestone yet: “Hear ye, hear ye! I have earned my one-year no-claims discount.”
It’s been a year since I passed my driving test and I’ve managed to survive without major incident. It’s nothing short of a miracle, given my driving and the nature of Britain’s roads, which serve as both crucial infrastructure and a free forum for acting out anger-related dysfunction.
To drive is to travel through a playground of disproportionate rage. I once saw a man become so irate at the car in front for failing to indicate that he lobbed a packet of biscuits at it, screaming: “I should break your neck!”
A mixed message, the threat of death and the offer of biscuits. Where, I wonder, did that man go next? Did he slot back into his regular life? Would a camera have followed him as he drove to his job, slipped on some scrubs and then (surprise!) went to work as a surgeon? To think that one day my life might be saved by a Hobnob flinger.
Even the most mild-mannered succumb to road rage. I see it in my own gentle partner. Faced by a minor irritant – someone driving slightly too slowly or, even worse, a considerate driver who lets other cars out – the metamorphosis begins. Knuckles whiten on the wheel, cheeks redden, his lips ready to explode.
“Imagine if I just ran that car off the road,” he’ll say. “It would be so good.” And I nod and smile, but shudder. Still, I survived my first year. You might even say I excelled at it. Most adult milestones – home ownership, parenthood, par financial stability st – seem impossible to t me. But this model of adulthood, a where you’re rewarded re by virtue of not screwing sc up? Now, that I can get ge behind.