August 9, 2013
An experience I had has resurfaced, after having a conversation with a friend about crying. This is an issue I have always battled with, which I unpacked in the post: What is so wrong with crying?
It’s a driving story.
But before I begin, I would just like to say that I am an awesome driver and if at some point in my life there were ever the opportunity to attain skills in race car driving, I would have taken it…in a heartbeat.
I was on my way to a meeting, but was driving down a road I wasn’t entirely familiar with.
I was momentarily distracted when coming up to a round-about. I looked to my right and saw a car approaching. I was going slower than usual, due to my momentary disorientation, but I was still going to reach the round-about first, so I proceeded.
This car came in fast – I didn’t realise how fast until he was on top of me in the round-about, beeping his horn.
I was startled and raised my hand in apology – although all I had done was be a tad slow. I was in the round-about first and technically I had right of way. But we had both contributed to this moment occurring.
Just 100m ahead we both had to stop due to a red light.
This is when it started to get a wee bit alarming.
He started to blow his horn at me, whilst slamming his hands on his steering wheel, swearing and looking VERY angry. I was watching intently in my rearview mirror.
I started to think that I was pretty much trapped there, if he were to get out of his car and approach me.
Then it got worse.
His window was rolled down and he threw something out of his window and it landed on my roof. It landed with a loud bang – sounding like a full can of soft drink. I never saw what it was.
At this point I started to cry.
His aggression was scaring the living hell out of me.
To my relief, the lights had changed and the traffic started to move. This entire time, he had continued to beep his horn and act slightly unhinged.
I turned left – where there was only one lane on each side of the road – and so did he.
I was shaken, so I pulled over into a parking spot to calm my nerves a bit.
Instead of driving past, he stopped next to me – in the middle of the road – banking up the traffic behind him.
He aggressively started to insult me, saying we could have had an accident.
I replied (with tears), “Yes, OK – but why are you so angry?”
He said because he could have run into me.
I agreed again saying, “Yes, I understand that you could have run into me, but why are you so angry?”
He started to puff up again, but paused and looked out his windscreen.
He spat out, “Sorry” and drove off.
I then released the tears of relief, composed myself and proceeded to my meeting.
I looked a sight when I arrived and believe it or not, I felt a bit ashamed at the fact that I had cried. I even ‘listened to my story’ as I relayed it, hoping it would be deemed that the crying was warranted.
Question #177: Why does it seem like it’s the crying that is judged of its worthiness first – before the aggression?
The encouraging part is that he did apologise in the end – but – how would it have unravelled, if I had responded in an aggressive manner in return?