Lose your temper, lose the battle

2012-07-05 11:55

Yesterday evening, on our way home from the park, I dropped my husband off at the shops to grab some supplies for our dinner, while I waited in the parked car with our two kids and dog.

Rush hour outside our local Spar and Woolies is always the cause of much traffic mayhem, and we were lucky to have found a legitimate spot in which to wait.

Soon after my husband left us, a minibus taxi came around the corner, its driver likewise looking for a place to park. He then executed a mindboggling series of umpteen-point turns to wedge his taxi into the non-existent space in front of me, so that it was protruding halfway across a lane of traffic.

This was a man who really knew where the edges of his car were, because despite parking me in with scant millimetres to spare, and adjusting his angle of parking a number of times, he didn't bump us once. Parking achieved, he exited his car, gave me a jaunty wave, and then began a heated conversation with his chinas on the side of the road.

I didn't object to his ludicrous act of driving for a number of reasons, the foremost of which being that he didn't leave the scene of the parking. I assumed that when my husband returned and we needed to exit our space, he would move his taxi.

He was also quite disarmingly cheerful about the whole thing, which goes a long way to defusing a potentially incendiary situation.

When my husband came back, the taxi driver immediately leapt into his car, moved forward to let us out and then reversed into our space once we had gone. We shared a smile and a wave as we drove off.

There had been a moment, quite early on in the proceedings, when a few concerns had surfaced. I was worried he was going to bump my car, I was concerned that he was going to leave me parked in and I was a bit affronted on behalf of the drivers who had to execute a wide arc to avoid the front of his vehicle.

But instead of resorting to the classic South African, taxi-driver-versus-the-rest-of-the-world rage, I let events unfold, and came away from the exchange feeling amused more than anything else.

I'm not always the most Zen of drivers. A horn-blaring, fist-shaking incident can leave me trembling and raging for an entire afternoon. There are instances of stupid driving that thinking about can still transport me to heart-pounding fury years later. “She was indicating that she was turning; that's why I pulled out in front of her!”

But on the occasions when I manage to keep my temper in check and let my sense of humour take over, I always come away feeling more relaxed and happy.

So while I'm certainly not sanctioning the reckless and dangerous driving of many of the idiots on our roads, I do always try to remind myself that when it doesn't really matter, just let it go. And I'm often pleasantly surprised at how agreeable driving can become when I manage to affect this attitude.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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  • kasiboy55 - 2012-07-05 16:48


  • chadjason.wilson - 2012-07-05 21:32

    Georgina each emotion has a purpose. Rage is a form of self preservation. Our Human Zoo has magnified its use beyond its required use.... but in reflecting on your headline, I believe your philosphy is incorrect..... rather it should be about our capacity to apply the correct emotion at the appropriate time.

  • corne.kritzinger - 2012-07-06 09:51

    What a ridiculously stupid article. So, lets see if I got it right... The taxi driver "executed a mindboggling series of umpteen-point turns" and then proceeded to "protrude halfway across a lane of traffic". When he executed these turns he no doubt held up other motorists. Also, when he was protruding halfway accross a lane of traffic, he no doubt also held up traffic. Both of these actions are not only inconsiderate, but also dangerous. I can assure you that the other motorists did not take as kindly to your "disarmingly cheerful" taxi driver. You might not have suffered road rage, but you just swopped it our for another South African action. Burying your head in the sand because his actions did not affect you directly. What if an accident happened because of his dangerous actions? Would you still be as forgiving?

      Jack - 2012-07-08 07:01

      You totally missed the point. Why should the mother of two and a dog take the law into her hands?

  • lee.demarco.73 - 2012-07-06 13:23

    Don't let these nanas upset you!If more south africans took this approach to life, then maybe we wouldn't be such a miserable complaining nation. Have an awesome weekend!

  • braamc - 2012-07-08 17:53

    Petrol bomb the taxi, problem solved

      Beertjie Peertjie - 2012-07-10 21:56


  • micheal.moolman - 2012-07-12 20:36

    Well Ma'am you were fortunate enough to encounter a unique specimen; a considerate taxi driver. Some time back a taxi driver parked me in at a parallel parking, despite pleasant requests and centuries of patience he wouldn't even acknowledge my presence, I had to wait until he had finished his chat with his mates before he decided to move.

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