I am fortunate enough never to have been subjected to road rage. This week though I encountered something equally as alarming as I went to get morning tea - savoury rage.

Naturally I was somewhat taken aback as the main protagonist in this tale leapt about yelling and screaming at me because I had taken the last savoury in the cabinet. Or more particularly, the savoury he wanted and felt entitled to.

You may be thinking the correct and decent thing to do would have been for me to defuse the situation calmly and assuredly by offering him the savoury and a smile. I did, in fact, consider such a move - for about two hundredths of a second - before deciding against it.

I mean, this was a potato top savoury after all. And every bite was worth the abuse I encountered.


So let me explain how it all came about.

I take another customer's place in front of the hot cabinet and remove the savoury, which was like this one but potato-topped. And that's how it all started. Photo/Getty Images
I take another customer's place in front of the hot cabinet and remove the savoury, which was like this one but potato-topped. And that's how it all started. Photo/Getty Images

I'm at work, head down, bum up and it happens. A gurgle in my stomach travels up to my brain where its deciphered and relayed back to me as a thought. You need food. Now.

Before I know it I'm walking through the door of my regular cafe and there's a bloke ahead of me in the queue of five people. He's obviously pondering, one hand on the handle of the hot cabinet, as you do.

I politely wait for my turn and eventually he decides against the pies and savouries and fills in that awkward space in the queue as he goes further up the line to check out the sandwiches in the next cabinet.

As he does this I take his place in front of the hot cabinet and remove the last, potato-topped savoury.

I've just got it in the bag when the fun starts. He's decided against the sandwiches and has come back.

"I was going to grab that," he said indignantly.

Beyond an apologetic smile and shrug there's not much I can do. Now he starts throwing all his toys out of the cot. Or rather he sullenly tosses his sandwich back on the counter and leaves the queue mumbling to return to his associates at a nearby table.

Obviously as I wait to pay for the savoury I can hear him filling his posse in on what had happened. His voice grows with his anger.

The growing tension is not helped by his mates who have suddenly remembered the law degrees they got on the back of the Weetbix box and are giving him some free advice.

Eventually I got to the head of the queue, paid for the savoury and turned to go.

Angry man decided he'd have another go.

Now I don't know about you but I often have to wonder about the things some people get angry about. I mean this was a $2 pile of pastry, potato and mince. Not a prized possession.

Having said that was I going to give it up? Hell, no.

I could feel my own indignation growing as I walked past the bloke and his legal team. It intensified as he called me a rather unpleasant name which I think would make me blush if I had to spell it.

Luckily I have trained all my life for such an occasion and had an appropriate comeback as I walked past. I said: "Really?". And that was it.

I triumphantly marched back to work clutching my savoury. Victorious over the forces of evil and satisfied I had done my bit to ensure good and proper order in the world.

I had not been dragged down to his level. Had not had to resort to any full on slanging match or God forbid, engage in physical deterrents.

I relayed as much later as I strolled down the road with Mrs P, proud as punch I had handled the situation with aplomb and not pettiness.

Ironically the same man was still at the cafe, though now sitting outside.

I'm a little embarrassed to say I couldn't resist telling Mrs P in a slightly louder voice than normal that I had had the best tasting savoury ever for morning tea.

I guess sometimes victory can taste just as good.

■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to kevin.page@nzme.co.nz .