It was a nice clear morning, I was well rested and for a change, felt in good terms with life.
I tidied my room and made myself some tea. The day picked up speed, I got dressed and was ready to leave for work. Brimming with new strategies and exciting ideas I turned on the ignition of the car.
Played my favorite song, picked my shades kept on the bonnet of the car, where I always keep them, and sent a silent prayer out in the atmosphere, for today to be a good day. My happiness only increased when I successfully managed to reverse and get the car out of the lane where people park their cars haphazardly, causing inconvenience for the rest of us.
And by us I mean me.
Who gets more angry at her own driving skills than the few idiots on the road. Who drives ultra carefully, and even though there is no ‘learners’ sticker on my car, anyone who observes my driving would know how safe I play it.
And there I was, out on the main road, clutching and accelerating my way to work. For some reason, doing all of this on your own gives you a very different sense of empowerment.
Remember the feeling when you swiped your own master card for the first time? Or the time, you travelled all by yourself? Yet, this feeling was something different. Something better. I’ve always loved the taste of independence, and this, was delicious.
I saw the traffic light turn red and halted at the right spot, waiting patiently for it to turn green so I could make a quick right. Other vehicles halted beside me, yet my car was strangely surrounded by motorcycles on either side. No, it wasn’t weird, like myself, people were heading out to work, it was clearly the time maximum people are on their way to their respective offices. I had learnt to convince myself to believe in the good, a little too well.
I got the green signal, and made a right turn and my overworked brain couldn’t help but notice the three motorcycles making the same move. Was I frightened? I wasn’t too sure myself. I turned up the volume of the stereo, tried to focus on the road, playing it safe as usual, maintaining a good distance with other vehicles.
As did they. They maintained a safe and constant distance with my car. One always on the left, one on the right and one right behind.
Was I overreacting? Was this a case good enough to report? Could it not be a possibility that they were heading in the same direction and just happened to be around my car? Could it not be a possibility that I was trying to look for the good in a situation that was starting at my face and screaming at me the possibilities of danger and worse case scenarios while I just choose to ignore those voices by turning up the volume of the fucking stereo?
I wiped the sweat off my palms on the car seat and held the steering wheel tight.
I took a different route, and the moment I saw a clear road ahead, I changed the gear, and was now driving at 80 kilometers an hour from the safe 30. For a person, who doesn’t trust her own driving skills, this was rather unexpected. Saying that I was astonished, would be understating it. At that point, my car felt like the perfect and the only defense I had.
No, I don’t keep a pepper spray in my bag, neither do I have an iron rod beneath the covers of the backseat of my car. I do not have ‘1-0-0’ on my speed dial, I’ve never thought of getting a license for a gun, but I do use blinkers at night. I do keep a safe distance from the vehicles ahead and beside me. I do honk when I am making a turn and I swear I am extra careful while I parallel park.
I do all of those things, because I’m sorry, but I’m not a fan of scratches and dents on my car. If I wanted a graffiti on my car, I’d get one from my artist friend.
I follow the rules, mostly because I’m scared to hit you fellow driver, but you’re probably having a bad day and I sympathize, you probably have your mother admitted in the hospital and hence not waiting for 110 seconds at a red light that might take away precious time of yours, is the best possible decision you could make, but do not think that I’m stupid when I follow them regardless of your dying mother or mine.
Don’t try to take advantage of the fact that a lady is behind the wheel, playing it safe by “following the rules”.
Don’t try to use your hypocritical, cowardly power, to try and frighten the few rational men and women around.
I know there is no real opposition to stupidity, at least not where I live.
The unhinged and the irrational always win here.
Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.
As for me, I’m still waiting for the day I can drive with confidence again.