Chennai road rage – being almost stupid
I came pretty darn close to getting in to a street fight today.
I was returning from office and was almost near my home, which is in a street that is not too wide… when I saw that the road was half blocked by a construction lorry, with another car parked on the opposite side of the road.
There were a couple of vehicles which were working their way through the gap… so being the ‘courteous’ driver I was (my father loves to remind me I am not born and grown in USA), I sided up just a bit behind the lorry and made way for the vehicles in the opposite direction. Then I hear this (very irritating) blare of a car horn behind me… which even after being able to see what was going on, kept honking. I ignored it the first 2-3 times… but then it really got to me. Guess I was having a road rage moment. So, once the path cleared, I maneuvered my car through the gap, and parked it couple of houses down the street and when the honking man passed me, I looked to see who was in it… and found him glaring at me. Eyes met… he kept rolling, so then the connection broke, I decided to drop it there.
I got out, opened the gate, and then parked my car inside. When I went near the gate to close it, I noticed that this guy was parking his car right opposite to my gate. That moment, something snapped… my mistake #1. I should have just ignored and gone upstairs, but I walked over to the guy… with a small smile, asked him to roll down the window, and asked him “I would have given way if I had it in front of me in the first place, so you needn’t have honked…”. That’s it… he started foulmouthing me, got down from his car, making threatening advances… (and amusingly), even started looking for a stone to throw at me! He was a well-dressed man, an office goer, probably well educated… but the way he exploded was a bit shocking to me. Here is my mistake #2… I was being horribly and most insanely naïve… was I expecting this guy to just say “Oh so sorry”? A super dumb moment, for sure.
I had my hackles up now and got to a defensive posture (I am taller by half a finger and outweighed him as well), but he didn’t relent and still kept coming at me. Realizing that things might get out of hand, and now that he might know where I live, I started walking back with this moron taunting me. I shouted something back, don’t even remember what as I was in a haze of anger myself. I just got back in to my home, still with the haze, but the moment I looked at my little 1 yr old son who came running to me, babbling in his sweet infant language , I then realized I had actually done the best thing possible at that time… I walked away and defused a potentially dangerous situation. Should I have dug my heels in and thrown my fists, things might have gotten very ugly real fast but I am now thankful they didn’t… for the sake of my family and his too (he was picking up his kid from school I think), at the very least.
As for the other guy…I got reinforcement on the fact that looks are deceiving. Well dressed and educated guys driving fancy cars make bigger morons and a**holes than the poor taxi guys trying to make their ends meet. This jerk is bound to get in to trouble sometime or other. He will learn his lesson another day… with a bloody, broken mouth instead of just a foul one. (yes, I am being nasty now. Too bad!)
I learned my lesson… give up on trying to be reasonable with drivers on the road. May be it is all the stress from the driving that causes people to blow up… but I think I will just keep my expectation down and be more aware of situations on the road going forward.