I was coming home after a weekend at Greenbelt Festival this summer bank holiday. A weekend of camping and nectar for the soul.
I pulled into the car hire forecourt then waited while a slightly irate man snapped at the guy behind the desk.
After returning the keys and sorting the paperwork I waited for my taxi to arrive. Just a few minutes later it pulled into the forecourt and the driver gave me a big grin and a wave.
A car behind him beeped the horn. The driver was waving for the taxi to pull forwards out of the way. It was the Angry Guy from the queue earlier.
“That selfish guy needs to calm down” I thought
Angry Guy is shouting and waving and my taxi driver takes a moment but eventually pulls forwards to let him past.
I get in the taxi, exchange pleasantries with the driver and we pull out to the traffic lights. My mind is on how much small talk I’ll have to make on the short journey to the station.
As we’re waiting for the light I see Angry Guy is still yelling. Suddenly he gets out of his car and comes running across the road towards us.
He launches into a tirade against the taxi driver. Screaming and swearing every obscenity he can think of. His face is red with seething anger that he hadn’t been able to pull into the forecourt a minute earlier.
What is wrong with this guy!
My driver tells him;
“Watch your language, there’s a lady in the car”
Angry Guy shouldn’t shut up because I’m a woman and my sensitive womanly ears will be forever damaged by his words. He should shut up because he’s being a dick.
His behaviour is not ok because it’s wrong. Not because of any lesser, more delicate humans who might be in earshot.
Angry Guy’s response?
“I don’t care, you f*&^ing b*%$ard think you own the road you should be f*&^ing ashamed…”
After a few scary minutes of escalating shouting and pleading for my delicate ears the lights changed and we drove off.
What on earth just happened!
The taxi driver and I agreed that Angry Guy had some issues if he gets that incensed about something so small. My driver wondered what he’s like with his wife and family if he’d talk like that in front of me.
I too wondered about his wife and family. But because he was an explosive ball of rage in general, not because he wasn’t able to contain himself in front of a woman he didn’t know.
And I considered my own actions. Is that the right time and place to call out benevolent sexism? Probably not given the escalating threat of physical violence. But I still feel bad for not saying something.
So in that round road rage won. But maybe one day neither benevolent sexism nor road rage will need to clash.