How have I gone through the almost 33 years of my life without someone punching me in the face?
For a laugh, workmen seem to be digging up the entirety of Preston at the moment and I’m caught up in two instances of roadworks on the way to and from work every day. Last night I was sat in a traffic queue, minding my own business and shuffling through my I-Poo. I was about 200 yards away from where the road went down to one lane but we weren’t moving very fast. Then, some guy came zooming up the – soon to be closed – outside lane, even though he’d been warned for the last 600 yards that he was going to have to pull in. But he wanted to get a bit further up the queue. He probably thought he was really important.
I don’t know why he chose to pull in right in front of me, I wasn’t moving anywhere. I guess it was because I’d left a 2 or 3 metre gap between me and the car in front, whereas everyone else seemed bumper to bumper.
Anyway, I fucking hate people who do this. They are cunts. I instantly made to block this manoeuvre but he placed his car at an angle and made it be known that he was coming in whether I liked it or not. Now, there’s no real proof of blame here for insurance purposes so I backed away so to avoid damage to my car. Still, he looked back in his rear-view mirror and I gave him a gesture suggesting he was a wanker. He mouthed back some obscenity.
This was when the switch flicked in my head. It hasn’t triggered so much in recent years, but I know it’s still there.
So – and this is the bit where I laugh at myself for doing this – I wound my car window down and threw a virtually empty bottle of ribena at the car in front. It bounced off the top of his back window. He looked back, probably wondering why someone was throwing blackcurrant drinks at his car. He didn’t mouth any obscenity.
My brain started to worry that it may now have gotten me into a bout of fisticuffs. Still, it didn’t stop my eyes from glaring and my mouth from saying a stream of abuse.
He didn’t get out of his car.
I calmed down and felt vaguely stupid.
If you’ve been driving for a while then you’re bound to get wound up about people sometimes. Generally I’m a lot better at dealing with things than I was. Still, the incident yesterday triggered memories of other times when I’ve nearly lost my brawling virginity due to driving.
The last one I remember was a couple of years ago near Mighty Muldoons when a car went in the turning right lane at some lights even though he intended to go straight on. I – in the correct lane – went straight on, and the guy swerved a bit to avoid me when he continued his blatantly incorrect journey. At the next set of lights he got out (with a man who seemed to be his dad) and they came over screaming abuse about “what the fucking hell did I think I was doing?” I pointed out that they’d been in the wrong lane, and the older man looked back up the street to see I was right. They got back in the car, leaving me with adrenaline flowing through my veins. And a semi.
The best one was years ago when a guy overtook me on a dangerous part of a road and just before some traffic lights. As he did so he clipped my wing mirror and I again gave him some abuse and wanker gestures. He got out of his car at the lights and challenged me to get out of my own car. I did. He tried to be threatening with me, yet he was about 55 and the weediest man I’d ever seen. Plus, he was wearing slippers. It was comical. Part of my brain became worried that I’d never live down the humiliation if this old man beat me up (I was about 21 at the time), but I still laughed at him. His wife got out of the car and told him to get back inside. I called him a cunt (aren’t I so brave).
It’s not just driving when my mouth has caused trouble. I still sometimes say bad things to people (usually dressed up with some cuntish self-righteousness) but I’m nowhere near as bad as I used to be. I haven’t insulted a thuggish man’s girlfriend in a takeaway in ages (she was being horrible to the staff), I haven’t encouraged a friend to thrown a flour bomb at some bigger kids for yonks (I’m not 12 anymore) and I haven’t lobbed a bottle of Southern Comfort in the direction of a group of lads for over a decade (I don’t touch anything whisky-like anymore, it makes me a bit of a twat).
So, yeah, I’m getting better. Just don’t be a twat on the roads now, yeah?