Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Small Unremembered Acts Of Violence

I am not given to random acts of violence. On the whole I’m fairly pacific. But I guess the stresses of modern living have lowered my threshold somewhat because I am finding myself more and more overtaken with a burning desire to twat people.

Very often people I don’t know. Perfect strangers. Though from their behaviour it is clear that there is very little that is perfect about them.

Take yesterday for example. My wife and I were in our car approaching a T-junction. As we slowed down a pedestrian stepped out in front of us to cross the road and we all of us did that peculiar British thing of hesitating in our resolve. The guy bobbed back and forth unsure if we were going to let him cross. My wife slowed but not completely as, in the vernacular of the road, the car behind us was right up our arse.

This little dance – this little tennis match of non-decision making and non-commitment – lasted mere seconds but, due to the quantum effects of the time-space continuum and much theorizing by Professor Brian Cox, seemed to last forever.

In the end, not wishing to be caught forever in a time loop and subsequently rescued by Matt Smith (though the lovely Karen Gillan would have been fine) I put an end to this mini eternity by waving the fellow in front of us across the road: go on, my son, you may pass, on your way, go about your business.

He did so. But then had the audacity to stand at the road side as we drew close to him and gave us the mother of all glares and the dubious benefits of his middle finger.

What?!

I erupted like an Icelandic volcano. I believe certain words crossed my lips that rhymed rather nicely with trucking banker.

My wife laughed it off and turned the corner both euphemistically and in reality.

I on the other hand have to admit that had it not for my boys being in the back of the car and my wish to set a good example to them weighing heavily on my mind would have leapt out of the car for a mere tuppence, run up to this shining paragon of social politeness and kicked him up the jacksy so hard my boot would have remained shiny for a 12 month.

It prayed on my mind for a good hour afterwards. I was seething at the mere thought of this arrogant little dickhead slumping his way to work, thinking he’d got away with this monumental act of rudeness and feeling somehow that he’d scored a small victory for the common man.

Victory my arse!

He had no right of way, goddammit! We let him pass before us out of kindness! He should have waited!

We should have run the effing little toe-rag over!

My teeth ache just at the memory.

Is it normal this amount of rage? Is it normal to fantasise about meeting this fellow in a dark alley and finding I have a baseball at my disposal to disrupt the relationship of his femur to his patella?

Shouldn’t I just live and let live?

Because in the end, I did just that, didn’t I?

So why don’t I feel very glad about it?



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60 comments:

The Dotterel said...

For the sake both of my blood pressure and my childrens' vocabulary, I have taken to smiling benignly and waving beatifically at such tossers, occasionally even uttering some obsequiously friendly greeting and satisfying myself that the confusion thus caused will undoubtedly linger longer in the memory than any insult.

Rol said...

Is it normal this amount of rage?

In my world, yes. All the time.

Especially when driving.

Gorilla Bananas said...

The way I see it, he had the right of way. He was continuing in motion along a pavement, whereas you had to stop anyway at the junction. But flipping the bird at you was inexcusable - you should have ordered your boys to moon at him forthwith.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

All I can Steve is that thank God you don't drive, if a mere pedestrian call raise your blood pressure like that heaven knows what an incompetent Sunday Driver in a Volvo would do...

PS I like grumpy people, I get them, I am one of them.

London City Mum said...

I see the two of us getting together and having a nice little rant and rave about this and more in due course.

Okay. A BIG rant and rave.

You got a problem with that?

LCM x

Steve said...

TheDotterel: that sounds a very sane response. I might in future counter such rudeness as this man displayed with the greeting: "Hi Dave, nice to see you again, how's your boyfriend?"

Rol: Oh my God. I'm turning into you.

Gorilla Bananas: if I'd had more malice of forethought I would have mooned at him myself.

Very Bored in Catalunya: I did take lessons a while back but had to bail out due to the cost and my propensity for attacking passersby with the spade I keep in the boot. Why do I keep a spade in the boot? Well, you never know when you might have to bury a body in an emergency.

LCM: no ma'am. Absolulely not. I'll be your bitch, no problem.

Barry Coidan said...

Do you drive? I hope not. Were you holding the steering wheel that day the poor pedestrian would have been squashed dead meat.

My wife also suffers from "passenger's murderous intent" syndrome. A car a mile away will make an illegal or inconsiderate move and she'll spend the next hour berating the unknown driver, the police and anyone else she thinks might have been responsible.

We pedestrians are the underdogs in a constant war of attrition with the car drivers. Any opportunity to give the old one finger "up yours" is a bonus.

the fly in the web said...

Can't stand people fartarsing about at the best of times.
Hovering at the roadside, darting forward and back...makes me nervous.

While driving in the U.K. I had a cosh in the glove compartment and when those poxy cyclists in helmets and special cycling clothes would come alongside at the lights on the driver's side and then start to pull across me to go left...why...goodness only knows, but it used to be their quaint custom so to do... I would brandish it at the window and tell them where I proposed to poke it.

I really have nothing against people riding bicycles...but 'cyclists' are something else.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

I think the reason your rage continued is that the situation didn't allow you to have a proper argument with the man: the fact that the car had to continue on its way robbed you of the opportunity to execute a satisfying denouement and, as such, you do not have closure.

Yours

Mrs Psychobabble

Kelloggsville said...

I'm guessing your not in the early stages of pregnancy, so maybe it would help if you took magnesium, zinc and B6 supplements. I also recommend keeping a large hoard of Ben&Jerry's available for blow your head off rage moments and when all else fails and you really can't explain the anger turn it on your husband by saying he never listens, couldn't possibly love you and burst into tears....ahhh hang on .... I'm missing a gender issue aren't I. Sorry mate, just grumpy old man-age...lean on a bar and moan about it lots

Readily A Parent said...

Honestly? There have been times I've wanted someone to be so rude to me so I could - justifiably - beat his/her head in with the toes of my boots. Alas. everytime it's happened I, like you, have been accompanied by my children.
It's certainly not healthy, but it's definitely normal.
I think.
Or not.
Perhaps we should just enroll in cardio kickboxing or something.

It probably is healthy for me, matter of fact, as I have very low blood pressure - good exercise for the arteries

rummuser said...

That is the primitive instinctual drive there Steve. We are hot wired to fight, flee, feed and oh, oh, find a mate! Pedestrians are fair game!

Steve said...

Barry: so it's a fight you want, is it? Seriously though, I quite like idea of "passenger's murderous intent" syndrome. I think that sums it up quite nicely. I wonder if I can fit a claymore in the glove compartment?

The fly in the web: loving the cosh motif. I really have nothing against people riding bicycles...but 'cyclists' are something else... is there a difference between cyclists nd bicycle riders?

Trish: no, I think you're right. I did not have closure whereas he did. Maybe I should have wound down the window and given him some choice thoughts from my fevered brain? Or thrown a Fox's Glacier Mint at him? Or just opened the car door into his face? I will now be better prepared for next time. Thank you.

Kelloggsville: I love Ben & Jerry's. Does this mean I am in touch with my feminine side?

Readily A Parent: maybe a solution is to always carry a blindfold and earphones with you so that the kids can be suitably desensitized before you or indeed I lay into someone with a brickbat or three?

Rummuser: are you saying that this pedestrian was trying to encourage me to be his "mate"? Did I completely misread his middle fingered salute?

Nota Bene said...

I'm with you on this. Keep a broomstick in the car to wack such people in future. Oh, that's illegal isn't it?

Steve said...

Nota Bene: I was half expecting a reference to Harry Potter there. Like maybe I ought to trade the wife's car in for a Nimbus 2000.

Wanderlust said...

In America, we shoot pedestrians for lesser offences.

Steve said...

Wanderlust: I think I've just fallen in love with America.

libby said...

I must admit Steve, I am quite glad you don't drive....it would be lethal.
Personally, because in 'real life' I am mild and mannered, when I am enclosed in the car and driving I eff and blind and get quite agitated with the idiots that seem to abound...it's cathartic to swear and people who don't indicate drive me mad!!
ps grumpy old man syndrome does seem to have hit you a bit early...do you need a bit of Wolf Hall??

Steve said...

Libby: love the Wolf Hall reference! ;-) I wouldn't say no but my wife and I are exhausted and it's only the second week of January. If it's any consolation I'd be much too tired to enact any violent undertaking in reality. I'm a dream fighter.

the fly in the web said...

Well, people riding bikes are one thing, people dressed up in helmets, lurid lycra garments compete with bogging pads in case they fall off..with one of those little red circles on a stick on the bike (which used to make me wonder whether it was something for the car driver to aim at) with self righteous expressions plastered on their faces...these, usually disobeying the red light,are 'cyclists' and I loathe them.

EmmaK said...

We are polar opposites - while I have a mouth like a fishwife and a very short temper at home and have been known to give the finger to members of the family of which I am not proud...when I am in a car I am like one of those senile 90 year olds..I drive slowly, I have all the time in the world for ditherers..wierd and I never get worked up. No doubt the honeymoon will end soon when I'm arrested for 'driving way below the speeed limit'

by the way pop back over to the cocktails blog and explain why you haven't sent us a pic of you in meggings yet

yours
a fan

Steve said...

The fly in the web: oh cyclists? You mean arseholes!

Emma: better a slow and careful driver than these ruddy amber gamblers! Re: megggings. There are moose knuckles and then there are bison knuckles. The latter does not photograph at all well.

the fly in the web said...

So that's what the red circle was....

Steve said...

The fly in the web: saddles are so thin these days we all get a touch of the ol' red eye...

Nana Go-Go said...

In my experience, it`s only normal behaviour in short men with small appendages. Just sayin`.

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: I thought you were supposed to be brown nosing...?

Val said...

Generally, if someone gives me the finger, I give it back. Preferably their own finger. Preferably somewhere they won't like it. That said, nobody's given me the finger (or needed to have it given back, in any part of their anatomy) since we moved to Wales.

How I do not miss urban life. Time for you and yours to MOVE, Steve! There's gotta be a job and a home for you somewhere other than where you are now.

Nana Go-Go said...

Oh yes, I forgot about that...anyway, as I was saying.....I was actually referring to the moron who was so utterly disrespectful to you and your Good Lady Wife and who therefore contributed to sully your otherwise Good and Benevolent Character, which I have always found to be nothing less than highly honourable on every occasion I have had cause to communicate with you (that enough yet?).

Steve said...

Val: the wife and I have always fancied Wales. Somewhere scarcely populated so that we could have the road to ourselves. Not sure if that is a good reason, ethically, to move though?

Nana Go-Go: you're getting warmer.

Being Me said...

Is it normal? Nah, I wouldn't think so. Is it common to feel this way, though? About as common as armpits, I'd reckon.

Thanks for your comment on my post today. Not to reduce all the others you've ever left in their meaning, today is an important day for us. So.. thanks :) xo

Val said...

The reason to move, seriously speaking, is to save your sanity and make you healthier. And your wife. And your children. So using an open road with few people on it, and a scarcely populated place as a symbol of that - yes, it is.

Suburbia said...

Nothing can beat a good dose of road rage!

Vicky said...

I would have given him the middle finger puppet right back !

Owen said...

Steve, how many times am I going to have to remind you ?

Now, repeat after me, and write 100 times :

I must not leave home without my flamethrower.

I must not leave home without my ...

Steve said...

Being Me: it was a pleasure and an honour as always. Thank you.

Val: OK. I'm sold.

Suburbia: damn right! I need another fix already!

Vicky: - ah the ol' naked Sooty!

Owen: I think I may have to invest in a tank...

lunarossa said...

Consider yourself lucky, Steve, that you don't live in Italy. The amount of aggression on our roads is appalling. I was once insulted by the driver of a car behind mine as I let a group of kids cross on a zebra crossing...Just one of many examples...In Italy the motto on the road is "live and let die"...Ciao. A.

Selina Kingston said...

I know I shouldn't say this and I should be more sympathetic to your plight and be more understanding but I do love it when you write about these incidents that set off that inner seething rage of yours....

Steve said...

Lunarossa: blimey. You don't see incidents like that on Zen, do you?!

Selina: fortunately for you it doesn't take an awful lot to set me off these days!

susie @newdaynewlesson said...

I had a good laugh at this post.

Just out of curiousity, will this still be something you will remember in 10 years?

I have decided to go the route of: when something happens to me that angers or upsets me, I choose to view the person on the other end as a person who has come to teach me a lesson about something I need to work at. So Steve... maybe the guy was a tacher to help yu through anger?

*ouch* why the heck are you hitting me? Ouch ouch *runs away* :-)

Steve said...

Susie: I might be hitting you but it is only in the spirit of a pupil giving a wise teacher a hard time before accepting the lesson...! ;-)

Heather said...

Sounds to me like you're just turning into a grumpy old man. All normal as far as I can see. Next thing you know you'll be going on about the youth of today and how 'this isn't music it's noise'

lunarossa said...

Me, again, Steve. Zen is a good advertising of the beauties of Rome but is absolutely zero realistic! Never seen empty streets in Rome, not even at 4am!!! And definetely no cop speaking in polished (or unpolished) English! Ciao. A.

Wylye Girl said...

Steve, we are so alike! I van hooted at me yesterday. I was on a roundabout, he was nowhere to be seen then suddenly he appeared at warp speed hooting his frigging horn when it was my right of way. I spend the next hour plotting his very painful and lingering death.

Steve said...

Heather: what do you mean next?! I've been saying for years how all this hippedy-hop music and drums and base is just noise. You can't even foxtrot to any of it. Where are the melodies and the banjos? Eh? Eh?

Lunarossa: next you'll be saying that the cops are all straight and as honest as the priests...!

Wylye Girl: we need to meet up and plot some ingenious murders like in "Throwing Momma From The Train"; I'll take out your van driver, you can take out my pedestrian and we'll ensure we both have alibis. Are you in?

Löst Jimmy said...

Rude pedestrian - I hope his next shit's a car park.

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: and let's hope God makes it a multi-storey...

Wylye Girl said...

I'm in!!!!!!!!!

Steve said...

Wylye Girl: nice one. Baseball bat or kitchen knife? Or both?

vegemitevix said...

I am somewhat prone to outbursts of Vesuvian proportions too. I blame it on the latent red head gene that wasn't acknowledged in my physical makeup. I will always be an unexpressed short fused red head in a brunette's facade.

Steve said...

Vix: my dad is a red head (well, white now) so I suspect I have the odd ginger strand running through my brunette locks... all to good effect! ;-)

femminismo said...

Ah, Steve. There's so much of the world beyond our control - trespassers who pour out their guts in the alleyway and leave their poo, customers who are rude, pain and death in the world, bothersome work colleagues - that we can get pissed off at the slightest thing. Yes, I've dreamed of strangling people, but don't envy Americans their guns and bullets. There is nothing here (that way) to envy!

Steve said...

Femminismo: have no fear, I have no wish to take up arms or even to have access to them. Such an ethos is sheer madness and the tempers I can get into over such petty things only proves how disasterous such a "constitutional right" would be.

Mark said...

Rage rage at the dying of the ....

And at roadside tossers too of course, but sometimes it's easier just to wave and smile.

Steve said...

Mark: so right. I wish I had your equanamity. Or access to a Taser.

Clippy Mat said...

There's nowt worse than a bit of auto-aggro.
A few xmases ago I got stuck in a busy parking lot and an owld bat wouldn't let me out, so i gently honked to let her know that she'd need to back up so I could back out.
Well.
She let me have the worst mouthful of foul language I've ever heard in the loudest most aggressive voice! I was flabbergasted.
All I could think of to say was Merry Effing Xmas to you too! I still laugh when I think about it.
It wasn't your mum was it?
;-)

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: no, she's inside for GBH. But she knows where you live.

The Sagittarian said...

Drive past that way every day again until you see him....

Steve said...

Amanda: it's my way to to work... no choice. Alas.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

You're lucky you don't live in Texas. These angry cowboys over here got trucks nuts and gun racks on all their vehicles. I'm afraid to even give someone an awkward glance for fear they'll kill me dead on the spot.

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: I think if ever I was in Texas I'd travel by taxi. Or horse. Whatever best pleases the locals.