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Monday 21st February 2005

Whilst never having reached the heights of road rage in my short and eventful driving career, I have probably experienced road miffage on a number of occasions. Today this rose to road-slight-annoyance.
I was driving to the Riverside to pick up my projection screen. I had cut down a back-road and was looking to turn right on to Goldhawk Road and then left on to Hammersmith Grove so I could glare at all the houses of the fools who had chosen to ignore my dedicated and specific advertising campaign (but what if a couple of people had come because of the programme drop and then I wrongly glared at their house. Because of thie possibility I was not going to be able to glare at anyone, even though in all likelihood none of the Hammersmith Grovers had made it).
There was a bit of a traffic build up heading right on to Gooldhawk Road, but not much coming from the other direction. So I established eye contact with the woman who I would have to pull in front of to get going. She looked me square in the eye for a couple of seconds which I took to mean, "Yeah, look, none of us are going anywhere fast, so by all means pull in front of me here, whilst the other side of the road is clear." I started to do exactly that, but the woman in the car just looked ahead, as if she hadn't seen me and kept on driving. But she'd definitely seen me. She had looked right at me, seen my predicament and was now trying to pretend I didn't exist. So I had to brake and was stuck across the other side of the road. What was the point of that?
I gave a short blast of my horn to register my frustration and disappointment. It was, of course, her right to carry on driving, but in any civilised world she would have let me in. It wasn't going to significantly slow her journey time down and unless she was blind (in which case she perhaps shouldn't have been driving) she had seen me.
The person behind, being a regular human being, let me in and so I was following my nemesis, her back bumper tantalisingly close to my front one. A devil in me wanted to bump her to show my displeasure. But I knew that was wrong and might escalate into some brawl in the street in which one of us got stabbed in the face with a car aerial. I knew that would be me.
I tried to catch her eye in her mirror, so I could pull an angry face, but typically for such a poor driver, she wasn't checking it.
She turned right into Hammersmith Grove. That made sense. No doubt she was one of the inconsiderate residents who got a free bit of promotion for a show and then couldn't even be bothered to return the favour by bringing themselves and eight friends along to see it. My blood was simmering gently - well maybe not quite that bad. My blood resembled the contents of a kettle that had been turned on maybe nine seconds before: a few bubbles of fury were rising from my element through my otherwise placid blood, enough to make me tut a bit and hope that the woman would finally check her mirror and see me pulling slightly insane faces at her - which even now, a minute or two after the event that she had no doubt already forgotten, would make little sense to her. But she didn't. So my vengeful intimidation was for naught.
She didn't even live on the Grove as she turned off it about half way down, presumably living on one of the back streets nearby. She was a Hammersmith Grove wannabe who didn't even warrant a free programme from a faded comedian.
I was surprised how angry (not that angry you understand, but still slightly riled) this had made me and maybe on a day when I was already more annoyed about other things this might have been enough for me to suffer full blown road-annoyance.
Perhaps if my house had just burnt down with all my friends and family inside it I might have even gravitated to road rage.
Luckily for this woman my house and acquaintances were all fine. Though I am going to try and arrange this burning event for the next time I'm out driving, just in case I find myself not being let in by someone who has seen me again. Then they'll catch it.

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