The taxi scythed out of nowhere, forcing the both of us into a space large enough for only one vehicle.
A harsh application of brakes and an even quicker, this one sustained, banging on the horn followed.
I had more horsepower, and, testosterone levels spiking, the absolute confidence I knew how to use them better.
It was not long before I was alongside and then ahead, gesturing my displeasure at this simultaneous display of inconsideration, incompetence and idiocy.
I was right, he was wrong, and he WILL know it.
I exclaimed, with bitterness camouflaged only by a contrived sense of victory, that the other guy was a moron and has rightfully been told as much. I turned to my wife for validation and was met not with agreement, but tears.
“But he was an ass! I had the right of way and he was being dangerous!” I feebly protested.
My words were suff used with the false confidence of someone who, speaking with his throat desperately suppressing the churning feeling rising from the gut, knows he did wrong.
For all the danger that the taxi driver had inflicted from his imbecilic driving, I had foisted on even more.
No matter what happened then, I had failed in my principal job as a driver to keep everyone safe.
And as a husband, I had failed to keep my wife safe. For no good reason at all.
Was I wrong? Should I not have stood my ground? Rules are rules, written or otherwise. What are we but animals, if we do not follow and enforce them?
Then again, it is very easy to be virtuous and correct when one is the protagonist of his own narrative.
Beyond who is “right” or “wrong”, there is an even larger question: Does it even bloody matter?
Proving that you are “right” may only end up hurting your loved ones.
TRYING TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT IS EASY UNTIL YOU TRY TO DEFINE WHAT “RIGHT” IS.
If I am honest, I will admit I still struggle with these questions, especially in the split seconds where I am confronted and conflicted.
I do not take the thought of being bullied well at all, for I am a proud person. If you read “prideful” and “petty” instead, I guess it would not be far from the truth either.
Road rage is not a poorly studied topic, and a simple Google search yields tons of results. Yet we are nowhere near a solution.
I am, however, a bit closer to it thanks to the guidance of my wife and the inspiration of a mentor.
A senior doctor with a reputation for kindness as much as knowledge, his experience and strength of character have been a beacon I have had the opportunity to seek guidance from. He has a simple message.
“Do the right thing.”
Which is simple until you try to define what is “right”. In the quagmire of a convoluted healthcare environment mined with politics, this professor manages serenity and dignified strength at the same time.
Perhaps it is his inherently sympathetic spirit, or his years of experience, or his sagely charisma. Perhaps he draws knowledge from his obviously strong faith, which, even as a resolute atheist, I can deeply respect.
Or perhaps it is the clarity of vision that his duty is first and foremost to heal and comfort his patients, a seemingly straightforward goal that is often rife with ethical contradiction. Whatever it is, his message rings loud and meaningful.
“Do the right thing.” Whatever the right thing is, getting into arguments on the road is most definitely the wrong thing. With that, I learn to be better.
DR KONG KNOWS THAT ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS TO DO IS TO SEE CLEARLY EVEN WHEN YOUR VISION IS SHROUDED IN RED MIST.