Friday, 30 June 2017

Anger Management

I wanted 2017 be a good year compared to the debacle that was 2016 but so far it is proving to be as bad – if not worse.

I won’t elaborate yet but suffice it to say that I am struggling to contain my anger as well as the other negative emotions that are vying for position.

The good news is that I have a new framework for controlling them – but boy is it hard sometimes.  I want to focus in particular on anger, arguably the most negative and destructive of these emotions.

I have recently been driving to my hometown of Walsall quite a lot and this has been one of many sources of anger and frustration. The distance between Manchester and Walsall is approximately 75 miles and motorways cover all but about five of those miles. On a good day, in the past, the journey has taken me about an hour and fifteen minutes – which doesn’t seem that bad – does it?

The problem is that the main motorway that joins Manchester and Walsall is the M6, which is the worst motorway in the world – or at least in the north of England (if I’m honest).

When I am driving between the two places, the motorway tries to make it as difficult as possible by pushing every single one of the hot buttons that make me angry when I am behind the wheel of a car.

The ensuing road rage is a sight to behold, particularly if you are watching from a distance. If it were a movie, you would grow fat on all of the popcorn you ate as you watched me devolve into a ranting Neanderthal version of myself.

Let me take you through some of the hot buttons.

First, there are major roadworks for four junctions near to Manchester, resulting in the speed limit being reduced from 70 mph to 50 mph. There are 17 miles of this nonsense. During this tedious distance several things happen. There is no hard shoulder so if a car or lorry breaks down or a car has an accident then the whole motorway grinds to an absolute standstill. The motorway is usually busy anyway so we all end up sitting there immobile for what seems like hours on end. Equally frustrating, cars and lorries overtake each other at approximately 35 mph sometimes slowing everybody down completely.

The M6 on a good day!!!
I have crawled along every single mile of that damned motorway at 10 mph! I know every bloody square inch of that motorway in intimate detail!

Next, the M6 is full of lorries. You have never seen so many lorries on a motorway. Some of these lorries travel at 55mph, which isn’t a bad thing until another lorry, just behind, decides to overtake at 56 mph. When this happens, some car drivers lose their minds and swerve into the fast lane without really looking. Others decide to overtake the overtaking lorry at 57 mph thus blocking the motorway for those of us who are in a hurry and travelling at 70 mph. This behaviour causes instant congestion and, depending on how busy the motorway is, can lead to irritating lengthy tailbacks.

Next, the M6 brings out the dick in many drivers’ heads turning them from normal human beings into complete dickheads. For example, there I was in the fast lane overtaking other cars in the other two lanes when Mr Dickhead came up behind me. I was travelling at around 70 mph and this moron roared up at 90 mph and got so close that I thought his car was trying to mate with mine. In my rear view mirror I could see him bashing his steering wheel in frustration. He started flashing his lights.

So where the fuck was I supposed to go? Next to me in lane two were lorries driving nose to tail. I couldn’t have pulled in if I had tried, at least not without causing a major collision.

Did he think my car was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and could take off just to let him pass?

And these dickheads always seem to be driving a Mercedes or a BMW or an Audi. Is it a prerequisite of buying such a car that you have to mutate into a total dickhead when you get behind the wheel?

And then there’s the person who was in lane two approaching a junction. I was in the slow lane. Suddenly, he realised that he was going to miss his turn off and, without even looking went to shoot across my lane to escape the insanity of the motorway. Except I was there and this pillock was inches from side-swiping my car and causing a major accident. Thankfully, he realised at the last minute and swerved back, missing his junction and making my heart miss several beats.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, dear reader. This post could have gone on for days and days but I think I had better rein myself in.

The journey generally takes at least an hour and a half with the record being two and a half hours, which included being stuck in the same place for 45 minutes while the emergency services cleared up an overturned caravan.

I am somehow managing the anger because I have my music (a useful tool for dissipating rage as described in my last post) and when the traffic comes to a standstill I tend to escape into a calmer place with mindfulness techniques.

Also, I can rant on this blog post – that’s a great anger management technique.


River said...

Road rage is a scary thing especially if you are in the car when the driver loses it. I got scared and told him so, he managed to calm down. He's done several anger management courses since then, but he's still edgy. I refuse to drive with him now, catch a bus instead.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

It's not just anger - the incompetency of some drivers astounds me. How did they pass their tests?




Grace said...

I don't drive but that doesn't stop me from telling other people how to do it right. The road rage kitty photo? That's me - actually those are direct quotes.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Grace,

We are both road rage Kitty.




Big D said...

I love a good rant and this was some top quality ranting.

"Next, the M6 brings out the dick in many drivers’ heads"

Having spent more time than I'd like on the M6 I can only agree.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Big D,

I hate the motorway - always have and always will. The M25 comes close as does the M60. Imagine being stuck on the M60 on the way to the Trafford Centre? That is truly like being on the Highway to Hell!