It seems that almost every week we hear of new instances of rage which have been carried to quite appalling extremes-sometimes even resulting in loss of life.

First there was Road Rage. Then there was Air Rage. Now there are quite a number of new forms of rage being identified by the media from time to time... Supermarket Queue Rage, Jumble Sale Rage, etc.

What underlies this deeply worrying present-day phenomenon is people expecting more consideration than they are prepared to show others. This is just another expression of the deep selfishness that has been allowed to permeate every aspect of modern-day life. The underlying premise is that 'my journey/needs/schedule/concerns are far more important than yours...' Of course, we all realise deep down that we have no right whatever to make such an arrogant assumption. This usually emanates from a misguided and puffed-up sense of our own self-importance.

I consider that Soap Opera must carry a significant amount of responsibility for the highly questionable notion that the expression of rage is a perfectly normal part of life. It seems that every time one changes channels, and one's television inadvertently comes to rest on a 'Soap', one character is shouting at another in the most unreasonable manner. Personally, I have never come to terms with this recent fad for Soaps; frankly, I concur with the view that people only watch the antics of an imaginary community to compensate for the absence of a real one in their own lives. (Everyone must presumably realise just how uninteresting film of a real-life community would inevitably be-consisting solely of conversations peppered with the likes of "Do you want fish-fingers or pizza for tea?" and involving an awful lot of watching television-neither of which appear to happen in the TV Soaps.)

Let us consider Road Rage as an example, since I would venture to suggest that the vast majority of us have at some time been caught up in it. Very few drivers on the roads today have the forbearance needed to make journeys without coming to loggerheads with other road users along the way. I am not merely referring to the jackass who insists on driving as fast as s/he can at any given moment, driving within inches of one's rear bumper and flashing their headlamps out of sheer impatience, carving up other road users without compunction. There is also the sluggard who insists on occupying the middle of the road, travelling well below the speed limit, knowing full well that there is a queue a quarter of a mile long sitting behind, yet still making no attempt to pull in and allow others to pass. In my view, both are equally inconsiderate, dangerous to other road users, and oblivious of the needs and safety of others. I feel certain that each of us could identify these traits in others, but not in ourselves. So who are these people, then, if everyone considers them to be someone else?

I call upon us all, myself included, to think a little more about the consequences of our actions, or lack of, on other people. Most working people are under considerable stress much of the time. However, nothing excuses the appalling behaviour we have all witnessed.

Unless we all start showing consideration to others, there is no way that we can begin to expect any in return, and this dreadful trend can only continue downwards, to the detriment of us all.

Finally, as a service to the many people sick to the eye-teeth of jackasses driving within inches of their rear bumper, may I offer this simple yet non-confrontational method of dealing with the situation, which I have found to be most effective? Whenever put in this position, I simply wash my windscreen with a generous three-to-five second burst of water. When travelling at 30m.p.h. or above, this assures that the aforementioned jackasses have to deal with rather more 'second-hand screenwash' than they had bargained for, and will almost inevitably cause them to withdraw from one's safety zone. It has the added bonus of being no more dangerous than the outbreak of a sudden shower.

as published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 11th January 2001


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