Last week, I confided how irritated and angry I got at a moronic driver who was weaving around the Redditch Ring Road in his chavved-out little car. He was so dangerous, and people were honking as he narrowly avoided them. I was so angry as he did the same with me, especially as I had my daughter in the car at the time. I thought about how it’s only a matter of time before he kills or maims someone, and how he should be taken off the road. What can you do, though? Call the police? That’s no good unless you gather up the witnesses and they’re not really going to be interested until he actually has killed or maimed someone.
He sped off into one of the car parks, and later on I am 99% certain I saw him and his girlfriend at a stall in the grounds of the church where there was a fete happening. His green and black baseball cap was so distinctive. At that time, in that moment, I really wanted to walk up to him and just punch him in his chavvy little face, to teach him a lesson that his actions have consequences.
I didn’t, of course, and concluded that it was a big risk to take without absolute certainty, that it wouldn’t set a good example for my daughter, and that I’d be the one who actually gets into trouble not him. Rightly so. It’s not up to me to be judge, jury and executioner.
So I walked on by. I even concluded that it was just not worth trying to remonstrate with him. He was so chavved up, and his girlfriend too, that it was clear to me they were just too far gone, too far for reason, too far for an appeal from me to their considerate side, if one exists.
“Funny,” said my confidant, with a raised eyebrow. “You got really angry with him, but can’t you see how similar you are to him?”
“How so?” I enquired, with lips pursed. I didn’t want to be like this person, not one jot.
But she explained that my overeating problems are often caused by me swerving in and out of the rules, even the ones I set for myself. I don’t conform to the norms, and I don’t behave as I know I should. I show disregard for my loved ones, and I put them in danger because if I have a heart attack and die they will suffer greatly because I’ve failed to plan my finances properly – again, another result of ducking and diving the rules and the norms.
She continued that I had sped through life, jumping between the lanes, and yet people around me – people who care about me – are all honking their horns and trying to get me to change my ways.
How frustrated must they feel, she noted, that they try to help you but you just keep on driving through the lanes in a haphazard manner. They must feel like punching you square in the face sometimes!
But they don’t, she said. They decide it’s not worth it, that it’s going to cause too much aggravation, and that ultimately it’s not their responsibility to change your behaviour, it’s up to you and only you.
I pondered the analogy (dare I even call it a parable?) for some time afterwards, and I still am. It’s about time I drove my life forwards in the right lanes, in the right way. Not someone else’s version of ‘right’, and not because someone else is telling me to do so, but because it’s simply the right thing to do to honour and protect all those around me, but also myself. I deserve better than to die as a result of my own ‘careless driving’.