It’s a city – we will throw dirt on each other …

While driving in the city, I seem to constantly get irritated, worked-up, angry and even shout at other people driving on the roads. I am sure this evokes a sense of understanding and empathy from most people.

However, I have recently observed something new: Other people seem to be constantly getting irritated, worked-up, angry and even shout at me when I am driving in the city. I always wondered why, because I am probably the best driver in the city 😉. If there was a contest for “best city driver”, I think I would win it hands down.

  • I always drive without hogging the entire space of the road
  • If I am driving slow, I drive on the side so that other people in a hurry can easily overtake and go ahead.
  • I park such that my vehicle doesn’t block anybody else.
  • If I have to park in a way that may impact other people, I leave a chit with my phone number on the window by the driver’s seat so that they may call me and I can immediately respond.
  • If available, I usually park in paid-parking areas, instead of on the road side for free.
  • I keep my FasTAG recharged always, so that I don’t block the toll-gate when it is my turn. And if for whatever reason my tag is not getting scanned, I request to park a bit ahead by the side to make way for other cars — and later work out a way to pay the toll fees.
  • I always wear my seat belt.
  • I turn on the indicator sufficiently in advance to let other people know my intentions to turn or switch lanes.
  • I turn on parking indicator, if I have to drive slow on the road while searching for a location.
  • I drive predictably, so that people can organise their driving speeds around my car.

I could go on. But you get the point, I am probably the best driver in the city! Then why would some people yell at me on the road?

When I took a deeper look, I figured out something interesting. It appears that I follow all the things I have listed above only when I am in (for the lack of better word) “good mood”. This happens when I have time on my hand, when I am not occupied with some concerning situations or circumstances, when I am not in a hurry, when I am not stressed with my better-half at home, when I am suddenly not gripped by worrying thoughts about my son’s future, you know stuff like that.

In the recent past, I have caught myself

  • Slowdown and park such that it blocked a school bus, who was under the assumption that I would not stop. It caused the bus driver some discomfort, and as he struggled to overtake me it caused a small roadblock and cost the bus a lot of time.
  • Going slow on the highway, causing stress to other drivers because they expect others to drive at a certain speed.
  • Searching for my location without turning on the parking lights, causing others to wonder why I am so slow.
  • Leaving the car not-parallel-parked on the road side, causing the boot of my car to stick out.
  • Parked my car in front of someone’s garage, because I had already spent a god-awful time looking for parking space and I was just tired at that point. What’s worse, I did not leave my phone number by the window.
  • I discovered that my FasTAG balance had become ZERO exactly when I reached the toll-gate, causing a huge pile up of cars behind me.

As you can imagine, I can go on with this list too.

Each time I messed up like this, I could hear other people yell sweet nothings at me, and it did not feel nice. Obviously, because yelling isn’t meant to feel nice. And because it did not feel nice, I know I have yelled back sweet nothings at them.

Having realised this, I have now also started to notice myself occasionally choosing to not yell when I am inconvenienced. I have also started to apologise when I am yelled at, instead of yelling back.

Now before you go assuming that I have become a darling, I must say that I have managed to be all this darling-like very very few times. But, I suppose I am making progress.

The only insight I have from this whole observation is

  • I am not perfect.
  • It’s a city, we are all fighting for space and we will rub into each other once in a while and yell sweet nothings at each other. It’s our collective way of managing stress.
  • I don’t have to be perfect. Other’s don’t have to be perfect either.
  • Progress is worth something, maybe even better than perfection.