Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

Polly Gillespie: My road rage revelation

I thought I was scary and imposing. I'm not. Photo / Supplied
I thought I was scary and imposing. I'm not. Photo / Supplied

I'm ridiculously immature. Some might kindly call me childlike, but it's immaturity. No doubt.

What makes us Kiwi drivers so aggressive and angry? We drive with anger. We swear and we honk and we speed and we shake our fists. It's not LA. It's not millions of people trying to get across town 24/7. And yet, we suck on the roads.

There are great drivers and there are calm drivers - who are possibly inhaling lavender oil from a rag tied around their face - but, in general, we are vexed and pissy.

(Here's how my recent road rage story begins.)

He just needed to say sorry and everything would have been fine. Why do people like (insert Kiwi driver's name here) find it so hard to say: "My fault! Sorry!"

Saying sorry when you screw up isn't a weakness. It's a strength and it diffuses situations faster than anything else you can do or say.

Sorry is all it would have taken. Instead it turned into a tiny but ludicrous city centre scene.

My partner needed a key cut. We were in my car, he was driving. He found a park and asked me to stay in the car while he ran in to the locksmith across the street.

In his haste he hadn't parked quite far enough forward. So whoever took the park behind us would have to partially park on broken yellow lines.

When I got my car my friend Jamie, who knows a lot of guys in the auto industry, suggested I get tinted windows. What I failed to realise is that Jamie would order the darkest tint available. So my car looks like a pimp mobile. Add a disco ball and it could be a travelling disco. You could have a meeting with Donald Trump in the back seat and no-one would know.

This is why the dude who parked behind us couldn't see that I was sitting in the front seat. I was reading the latest trivial nonsense on my Facebook feed, looking at a picture of a dog napping when ...

"Bang... bang... shudder... bang"

Bloody hell! I thought. Someone's hit the back of my car!

I put my phone down and got out of the car to see what had happened. A guy in a blue ute had tried to park and in doing so hit my car a couple of times.

I looked at him. Not being one to mince words I said: "Excuse me but you just hit my car!"

Now this is where the guy should have said: "Gosh, I'm so sorry. You are parked a wee bit in my space. I'm sorry I hit you, but would you be able to move your car foward a bit please?"

At this stage I would have replied: "Why of course I can. Sorry, my partner didn't park far enough forward. Let me just find my keys and move forward for you."

This was not the conversation, however. Instead, it went like this:

"Excuse me but you just hit my car."

"Yeah. Move forward."

"Ummmm you just hit my car, dude!" (I only use "dude" when I'm dealing with a dumb "dude".)

"Yeah. Move forward." He sneered at me again.

It was at this stage that "Crazy Polly" took over: "No. I'm calling my insurance company!"

This made little sense given I have a tow bar and the worst damage would have been dents to his car. But I was so angry that he'd given me a fright and not said sorry that I was now officially on the crazy lady train to retribution.

The man came around to my side of the car and started having a loud conversation on the phone with what I assume was an imaginary policeman.

I didn't call the insurance company. What I actually did was text my partner: "Come quickly. Man crashed into back of car, and is standing by my door being weird."

Two minutes later my partner appeared from the locksmith shop. He's currently sporting a number three buzz cut and looks a bit like someone who might kick your teeth in if the wind changed. He wouldn't. But he looks like someone who's car you shouldn't hit.

At that moment Mr Move-your-car-forward dude suddenly became Mr Oh-my-God-I'm-going-to-wee-my-pants guy. He immediately crawled up to my partner, apologising profusely and explaining that it was all a misunderstanding but the lady wouldn't talk to him. I don't think my partner said a single word. He just stood there looking like someone who'd escaped from the set of Trainspotting.

I was grateful he'd arrived on the silly scene, but in my mind I was injured. I thought I was scary and imposing. I'm not. I'm not even slightly scary or imposing, even to a man who looks like he's never had a fight in his life. I looked like a big wobbly ball of kitten fluff. How am I not scary? How am I not the woman that forces men to wither in terror?

I'm rather pleased I have a pet tiger, but I'm bitterly disappointed I must actually appear to just be a slightly crazy cat lady.

He just needed to say sorry. So simple. So easy. Dumb dude.

Note: I would like to officially apologise for not parking properly. I shall be very careful to check carefully from now on, so as not to get into ridiculous squabbles with random "dudes".

- NZME.

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Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

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