Kevin Page: Manuel driver's lucky escape

By Kevin Page


At last, it looks like we are going to get a solution to the traffic congestion on Te Ngae Rd. With a bit of luck it might also help to alleviate some of the road rage I see from time to time.


I've never really understood it to be honest. I mean, come on people.


We live in Rotorua. It takes 15 minutes to get across the city. Is spending another five minutes in the car worth all that aggro? Think of it this way: five minutes is just 300 seconds out of the 86,400 you have available in one day.


Unless you are Mrs P and can fill a shipping container with stuff from Briscoes in those 300 seconds I'd wager there's not much you can do, especially if you're stuck in the car.


So why not sit back and enjoy the view of the guy next to you picking his nose.


As a relatively new driver I was the proud owner of an extremely slow Mini. My drive to work took eight minutes unless there was thick fog, which on this particular occasion there was.


As I gingerly picked my way through the mists at a nervous, sedate pace, two headlights came roaring up behind me, close enough for me to identify it as a bright yellow Viva driven by a very grey, chain-smoking, rabid individual who was either singing Onward Christian Soldiers very loudly or calling me every name under the sun.


Somewhat nervously I picked up the pace. And so did he. On and on we went, not exactly a high-speed chase, more like a tortoise trying to get away from a horny suitor. But the farther we went the more agitated Viva man became.


It was one of those occasions like you see in the movies. I was sure he was going to run me off the road where I would be found by a family of hillbilly cannibals who would then abduct me, marry me off to their daughter Maybeline and hold me captive.


Luckily, town loomed before the banjos started playing and I made it to safety.


I was still unnerved a day or so later when I found out our neighbour was the new tax inspector in town and drove a yellow Viva. Anyway, I decided against complaining, I mean you don't argue with the tax man do you?


As I've matured (well, I think I have; I'm sure there are some who will disagree) I have tried to use humour to defuse awkward situations such as road rage.


Recently, while parking outside Mrs P's favourite Rotorua store I realised I had taken a spot a rather irate lady was indicating to pull into. Quick as a flash, she had found another park and was now waiting for me on the footpath, fire in her eyes.


So what did I do? I became a Spanish tourist.


"I sorree I no drive dees car beforr. I em from Spain," I said in my best Manuel the Fawlty Towers waiter accent.


This helped immensely and the offended lady became very amiable.


Unfortunately she wanted to chat all about my "home". What could I do? For the next five minutes I had to pretend I was Spanish and rattle off as many genuine sounding phrases as I could ("thees ees a lovely ceetee") while praying she didn't work it out or that anyone I knew would come along and unmask me.


So if there's a moral to my column today it's don't get involved with road rage.


Steer clear of angry tax inspectors, relax and think Spanish tourist ... eet ees a lot saferr.

 

- Rotorua Daily Post

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