A few days ago I was sitting by the pool at a resort in Oman, enjoying a pina colada and reading the latest news from Doha online, when I came across this headline:
"Court fines, revokes license of expat woman in road rage incident"
This stopped me in my wet flip-flopped, sun-woozy, dark-rum-sipping tracks. After a quick self-patdown to confirm my whereabouts, I determined that a) I was not, in fact, presently incarcerated, and b) I was also not currently making headlines in Doha.
Phew. While it was a relief to discover that I hadn't entered a fugue state sometime in the last week and taken my irritation out on another driver, I have to be honest: This type of action would not have been completely out of the question. A few months ago, I actually joked to friends to be prepared for me, any day, to fulfill my fantasy headline and related story, that I imagined would go something like this:
"Canadian woman charged in road rage incident
"...The woman, a Canadian believed to be in her mid-forties, allegedly pulled her victim through his unopened driver's side window. The young expatriate driver was unharmed, but his windshield was found to be shattered beyond repair. Upon being apprehended, the woman, while still clutching a mangled hockey stick, was reported to be heard muttering the phrase 'Je ne regrette rien'."
No word of a lie. This was my light-hearted version of what the future held for me. And now it would seem as though some other poor woman had beaten (pardon the pun) me to it.
Now before you get your shorts in a knot about me condoning her actions, let me say this: I don't consider myself to be a particularly violent person. And even if I were, my five-foot-two, skinny yet curiously flabby frame would make me completely ineffective. I do, however, believe in a little reverie to help me through some stressful situations. Situations like driving in Doha. Hockey stick is Fantasy Number One. A spike belt that I can throw out the passenger side window into the path of the tires of a vehicle that is passing me after riding my ass for 300 metres in Fantasy Number Two. And you know those spiky metal things from that movie (Transformers, maybe?) that fold out of your wheels to shred the vehicle next to you like a tin can? You got it. Fantasy Number Three.
There was no end to the self-righteous online tsk-tsking in response to this story. But I mean really, people. Who among us hasn't indulged in just a teeny tiny little bit of revenge-filled fancy while driving in this crazy city? A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, secretly confessed that she harbours a desire to sneak around parking garages and let the air out of the tires of those who have wronged her with their driving infractions. We all imagine it. The lady in the real headline just snapped first.
So to the woman who lost her license because of a momentary fit of pique, I'd like to offer up my driving services. Need a lift somewhere, hun? Happy to help. You can play Thelma to my Louise. Especially if you supply your own spike belt.