By Ben Allison
I consider myself to be a calm and patient person.
I hand up all of my assignments on time, I help out with chores at home and I donate to charity (very occasionally, but it all helps out). That’s not to say that bad people don’t do these things, but I’m trying to paint a picture here.
However, the wholesome persona that I present to the world dissipates the very instant I get behind the wheel of a car.
All it takes is for someone to not use their indicator while changing lanes for a Hulk-like wrathful rage to take over my entire body.
Suddenly a torrent of expletives flows out of my mouth and there is nothing I can do to stop the profanity.
‘Oh, nice indicator, you stupid little (insert expletive of choice)!’ I scream at the top of my lungs.
I can’t help it. It’s not me, it’s the devil speaking.
I plant my foot firmly on the accelerator and speed into the next lane and overtake the Hyundai Excel that just cut me off without warning. I’m still doing the speed limit, but the Excel has slowed down after cutting me off, resulting in another torrent of four letter words.
As I pass the car, I put my best shade-face on and glare at the driver.
The 90-year-old woman doesn’t even notice.
It doesn’t matter; I feel satisfied at the fact that I’m now sitting in front of her at the red light we’ve both just stopped at.
‘Take that,’ I mutter under my breath, for no one in particular to hear.
The light turns green and I floor it, eager to leave the old spinster eating my dust.
Plot twist: at the next set of traffic lights, I slow down to stop for the red light and the old woman pulls up in the lane next to me.
Now this really aggravates me. How did she do that? How did she catch up?
I try to shake my rage off. I turn the volume of my radio up.
‘Young and Beautiful’ by Lana Del Rey is playing. It’s far too calming for my current state of rage. I decide to choose a different song from my iPod.
I try for something more aggressive, but my fat stub of a finger accidentally hits ‘Crazy in Love’by Beyoncé. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Crazy in Love’ is a classic, but as the iconic opening melody starts to blare through my speakers, a degree of embarrassment falls over me and I quickly unplug my iPod and throw it to the floor.
Side note: at this stage, can I ask you, dear reader, is it illegal for me to use my iPod while driving? I know I’m not legally allowed to use my phone, although I still do (cue the collective gasp as I reveal my criminal lifestyle), but the iPod/mp3 player situation has always been a bit of a grey area for me, although I’m sure the law strictly stipulates that I can’t use either.
The light turns green and I thank the Lord that I can continue on my journey.
I turn down the next side street, a nifty shortcut I often use. My rage is slightly easing.
I notice in my rear-view mirror, a huge black 4WD getting closer and closer to me. Soon enough, the 4WD is obnoxiously close, penetrating the invisible driving bubble that surrounds my car.
I’m still driving at the speed limit, if not slightly over, but the 4WD behind me is practically touching my exhaust pipe.
Once again my very own incarnation of Mr Hyde takes over my body.
‘Back off, sea hag!’ I yell.
Sometimes I like to get creative with my name-calling. It’s the little things in life that matter.
But adverse to my plea, the sea hag does not back off. She’s so close to my car I can basically hear Triple M playing on her radio.
My foot slides over to my brake pedal and presses down gently. I’m now travelling at 20km/h under the limit just to annoy the soccer mum who sits high up behind the wheel of her Holden Captiva.
I am very aware of the fact that two streets ago, I was literally racing a 90-year-old woman, trying to get past her at all costs, and now I’m purposefully slowing down my journey for the sole reason of aggravating the woman behind me, but logic has no place in Mr Hyde’s plan of attack.
I see her put her hands up as if to say, ‘really?!’
Success. I’ve won this battle.
She swerves to the left and then to the right signalling that she wants to pass me, but this shortcut is a long, one-way street. She has no hope.
We finally reach the main road. I’m laughing maniacally with glee, having aggravated this woman so much so that as soon as we hit the main road, she slams on her accelerator and speeds past me.
I notice she has a ‘Baby on Board’ sign stuck to her rear window. I hate her even more. Although admittedly, it’s not as bad as a collection of ‘My Family’ stickers.
I continue along the main road peacefully, until I come across the final hurdle in my long and arduous adventure: road works.
The road works situation in South Australia is deplorable, but the majority of readers will already know that, I’m sure.
I see the dreaded speed sign with a black 25 sitting inside a red circle.
‘Oh, come on!’ I screech. The rage is back.
I slow down to 40km/h, because that’s as slow as I’m willing to go through road works. Does anyone actually slow down to 25km/h?
In reality, I wouldn’t mind driving at 25km/h if I ever noticed any road works actually being completed, but to me it just seems as if we’re all expected to slow down to watch four sweaty, larger men stand around drinking cartons of iced coffee.
No, thank you. If I wanted to watch that, I’d go for a drive to Port Adelaide. In an interesting twist, that’s exactly where I’m headed.
They’ve blocked off one of the lanes so I’m forced to merge to get through.
I flick my indicator on so I can slip into the next lane.
The car next to me doesn’t let me in.
‘Are you serious?!’ I bellow.
‘MERGE! MERGE! MERGE!’
I’ve started chanting aggressively and instead of picking up my spirits as most chants are meant to do, I’m just getting angrier and angrier.
‘Let me in, putana!’ At this stage of my aggression, I seem to have started insulting the other drivers in a different language.
‘How often does Port Road need to be maintained?’
I’m not sure who I’m asking, but presumably it’s Jesus.
I finally get let in by a guy with dreadlocks who has make-shift P-plates up in his window.
‘About time,’ I say sarcastically with an over the top eye roll.
I finally get through the road works and I arrive home from uni.
I know that tomorrow I’m going to have to go through the same trauma, but as soon as I step out of the car and slam my door shut, the wrath leaves my body and an air of peace and tranquillity washes over me.
Think what you want of me, but I made it through the ordeal. I’m a hero.
*Author note: this is a work of fiction (not really) so any admissions of ‘criminal behaviour’ should not be taken as a true admission of guilt on the author’s behalf.