We sit and we watch. Sometimes we cheer, we jump, raise our arms, shout, scream, moan, groan, put our head in our hands, yawn, eat a sandwich, chat about something else, but more or less enjoy the game.

Not everyone. Some people see football as a chance to ‘let off steam’, to shout at the referee over minor infringements, to argue every 50/50 decision even if it probably was made correctly. We have a couple in our area, which is quite near the pitch. The other week someone burst into swearing at the referee and nobody could really tell what the anger was for. The ref acknowledged with a bemused laugh.

Harmless, right? Just blowing off steam?

Tooting Broadway, 720 am this morning. A box junction, busy as it gets. By the traffic lights waiting to go right is a long queue. At the front of the queue a young lady in a small car. Two back a lorry carrying a skip. The lights are green but a steady flow of traffic coming the other way means there’s no route through for the small car. So she waits for the right moment.

Meanwhile the lorry driver, window wound down, bounces on his horn, shouts, screams, shouts, screams. The day is young but already he is furious, furious that this car has not found a way through the traffic and therefore is holding him up.

The lady in the car is getting agitated. She goes for it.

Coming the other way a bus driver decides he can get through the lights, even though they’ve just turned red a fraction of a second earlier.


The lorry driver sees that I see him and shouts at me, explaining that the car was in the wrong for taking too long at the junction. He’s got work to do.

He speeds off.

The bus is immobile in the middle of the junction. Glass everywhere. Metal not as it should be.

The car is sideways and immobile in the middle of the junction.  

Inside it the lady is alright but in tears. Her car is wrecked and so is her confidence. Her other half is on his way. Many people witnessed the incident and she has phone numbers, which are of no use now but which might be later.

The lorry driver speeds off towards Colliers Wood.  He has work to do and she was wrong, not him.

Cars behind the bus start beeping. I shout at one of them too. “There’s been an accident. A bad accident. Get your fucking priorities straight you fucking ****.” Over and over. He stares straight ahead, boiling inside because his box junction is blocked and he’ll be five minutes later getting to where he had to get to.

8 thoughts on “Rage

  1. Yes, and lest you think it’s an English disease it’s not. I got ‘road raged’ by a grey haired elderly lady the other day when I was crossing the road. Over here, people are more compliant with pedestrian crossings than in U.K. You wait for the green man, you start walking. Halfway across, the green man becomes a flashing red man, which is meant to warn you not to start crossing if you haven’t already, but it doesn’t give you much time. I was 3/4 of the way across, when this old lady comes around the corner in her car, winds down the window and shouts “can’t you see its red you idiot”. Symptomatic of the intolerance of pedestrians as well as the creep of impatience to even the older age group e.g. we have a lot of permanently angry, older ‘Tea party’ types over here.

  2. There should be compulsory blood pressure testing.

    I am much calmer since discovering my blood pressure was sky high and started taking a pill a day. No obvious side effects but I now reserve my rage for those occasions when there is at least a slither of objective justification.

    A serious point because many of these people can’t help themselves.

  3. London is a merciless place to drive. I’m always astounded at how many people insist (via their horn) that I enter a yellow box junction I clearly wont emerge from (therefore risking a fine), just so they can edge 2 feet further forward. Oddly enough I get much angrier when I’m the passenger and Liz is driving – I become a borderline psychopath when meatheads like the lorry driver you describe honk us unnecessarily.

    1. I was in India last year. The traffic there is 50 time denser than anything in U.K. They are constantly hooting at each other. And yet ……… there’s no road rage. Well I’m sure there’s some, but its not the default position as soon as you don’t get your way. Their Karma is calmer.

      1. ha ha, very good. I saw the same in Vietnam where swarms of motorbikes fly all over the place with the day’s shopping, rabbit hutches and god knows what else on board, too.

        We have a lot of Indian drivers round here and their interpretation of the road is always interesting, but as you say, no anger. just eccentric.

      2. In India you have to hoot (seriously) – otherwise no-one will notice you. Not sounding your horn is bad driving there.
        Mind you, lane control is non-existent.

  4. London is best driven if you just assume every single other driver is about to pull off an insane maneouvre,
    Just being driven in Cairo is an experience as no one really takes notice of the rules. Three lanes frequently contain five rows of cars and the horn is used more as an ‘I’m here’ or an ‘I’m coming through’ rather than as a ‘ARRRRRGGGHHHH YOU COMPLETE CLUSTERFUCK!!!!!%!$!£!!”

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