We all have bad days, or bad parts to our days. It’s how we deal with the aggravation those bad things engender that makes the difference. Today I began my day with a “bad traffic event”.
Usually I can drive my motorbike in the peak hour traffic and not worry too much about the congestion, pollution, impatience of other drivers and the dozens of other niggles that add to the driving experience here. Basically, most people on m’bikes here realise we are all in the same position and a tolerance level exists that makes things work. Mostly, drivers of cars, taxis, buses, trucks etc. are cautiously aware that m’bikes are bound to get in their way and drive in a defensive and (sometimes) courteous fashion accordingly. However, this morning I had a bad traffic event with the driver of a very large bus.
Admittedly, I was running 10 minutes late for my class this morning and this was exacerbated when I found the traffic to be just that bit heavier at that later time. So I guess I was already a little tense when I turned right off Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St into Dinh Thien Hoang St and moved into the left hand lane to cross over the oncoming traffic and enter the Uni. gate.
I knew that there was a large bus behind me and, although it frightened the hell out of me, I was not surprised when the driver sounded his very loud air horn, a horn more suited to use on the highway than in the city. This is fairly normal and I took it that the bus driver was just making sure that I knew he was behind me.
As we approached the intersection with Le Duan St, the lights had turned red against us but I needed to turn left maybe 20 metres before the lights. The driver gave me yet another blast with his air-horn and, despite the fact that he had to stop at the red light anyway, and despite the fact that I was on the centre line of the road, continued to blast away at me. I don’t know what the decibel rating for these horns is, but whatever it is, it’s way too high, particularly if you are only 2 metres away from one with nothing covering your ears.
The continued air-horn blasting got me annoyed, I admit that, but what really pissed me off no end was the verbal spray that I received from the bus driver as he stopped behind me for the lights. His window was open and he gave me a nice mouthful. The sensible thing to do in those circumstances would have been to either, 1) ignore him completely or, 2) give him a large cheesy grin. Instead I turned and gave him a verbal spaying of my own.
I won’t repeat verbatim what I called this guy except to say that there was a strong inference that his parents had never been married and that he himself was a very, very stupid individual. With that, he indicated very clearly that he would like to take me over to the sidewalk to sort out this incident in a male oriented fashion. Now I feel that I have grown up and I stopped fighting with other males when I was back in school, but there was a split second when I could feel the synapses in my brain actually short circuiting, some primitive urge took over and I truly felt like going and dragging this guy out of his bus through the window.
However, it was for only a split second, then my civilised self returned and I just laughed at him and drove into the bike parking area. After all, I have a lot to laugh about. Next week, next month, next year, that guy will still be eking out a meagre living driving buses, and I won’t be!