Lessons from the Moleskin Notebook

It started out as a normal, sunny morning, with me on my way to a quick appointment, the last of the "Have to do's” for the week. A few kilometres after getting onto the highway, slightly earlier as normal, I encountered major road works underway with nowhere to go. With everyone courteous, driving at a snail's pace, allowing each other access as lanes keep on dwindling from five to two, I was not too perturbed. It was the weekend, after all...

That was until Mr Taxi Driver arrived on the scene. He was clearly not content with the current traffic situation and seemed convinced that to gain a one-car length will result in a major changing life event. However, in order for him to gain eternal happiness, he had to deal with a slight obstacle, which was my car, or rather, me. Quickly realising that I was not going anywhere, he decided to deliberately swing his minibus towards my car...the threat clearly made: "Give way, or else...”

I do not do the "or else" bits very well in life. Thus, a rather heated conversation ensued, each in his own language, but with clear understanding of what is being said due to the ample use of profanity in between the Afrikaans and Zulu words, which in turn were topped off with the liberal use of hand gestures to emphasise certain points. The argument was most probably at its peak, with me already having offered various opinions regarding current brain power, family roots, questionable manhood and warm wishes for upcoming trips, when I realised that motorists around me have actually switched off their engines.....we were not going anywhere for a while.

So, all of a sudden finding myself stationary, I looked up into my rear window mirror, and saw one very, very angry taxi driver getting out of the minibus, walking towards me...and all that went through my mind was...."Okay, this time you have now really done it..."

During the rest of the day, a mixture of different emotions was simmering - the relief that I manage to escape unharmed from the situation and horror at my own actions. The utter disbelief in the level of stupidity I displayed, especially knowing that it is general knowledge that most taxi drivers are armed in one way or the other. Then there was the small matter of Nick.

I tried, really tried during the Skype conversation the next morning not to say anything, or to act differently, but right at the end of the conversation, I heard to my own horror - the words pouring out of my mouth. For a minute or so, I still thought maybe I got away with it, as at first Nick thought I was referring to a cab driver, but being the man he is, he quickly realised that this is not about a cab driver. It was not even put to me in a question; he purely stated, "You are talking about collective taxis. A mini bus"

I actually closed my eyes in silent prayer, before I confirmed the statement. Instead of clamping my mouth firmly shut, I added stupidly, that there are some clips on the Internet about SA Taxi drivers. When someone says in this calm voice “Go on” my advice is that if you can run...do so. The call ended on a slightly chilly note, with clear instructions that I must wait, he will contact me shortly. Which he did. It was a short conversation, no longer than three minutes. In those three minutes, I never said a word. Angry, livid, enraged, furious, incensed, outraged - I think that describes Nick the best during the call. Moreover, it did not help the matters any further that he has just finished watching one of the news clips I so brazenly referred to.

The end-result was an entry in the moleskin notebook.  To my utter shame and mortification, I was gently reminded about the people that do care about me, whilst receiving a scathing lecture at the same time about my obvious desire to get myself killed and for having an insane death wish.  A quiet promise was made to me, that in my upcoming trip to the UK, the punishment awaits, as he so calmly did put it, “I will be just as angry as I am now." 

Out of all the idiotic, mind numbing stupid things that I have done, as the result of my quick temper, this surely takes first price. And as far as the promised punishment is concerned, I have no objection. As Nick so eloquently had summed it up, victory for me would have meant that the taxi driver would have backed off; however, defeat would have resulted in either personal injury, or even worse. The sad truth contained in this, is that both options are devoid of any real value.


Dioneo said...

Hi Raven Red, welcome to the blogging world! I've enjoyed your writing here and I hope to read a lot more.

Raven Red said...

Hello Dioneo

Thank you for the welcome and warm words..



barely.pink said...

Thank you for linking to this in your most recent post -- I don't know how I missed it!

Raven, I do things like this, too. One of my friend's favorite sayings is, "Who cares if you're right if you're dead?" Shudder.

I'm happy that you emerged from the altercation unscathed. The alternatives would be much worse than any you face with the cane.



Raven Red said...


I agree, the consequences could have been far worse than it was that day. I have had a gun against my head already in an attempted hijacking, but apart from the fear, it brings with it a rage

My temper is my downfall and there is no way that I can even deny it.
What I did that day was incredibly stupid, and after Uncle Nick had exploded initially, I have tried my utmost to control it.

But I do struggle, I am tired of being bullied and treated as a second rate citizen in my own country, tired of the lawlessness that seems to reign...

But then, I have been caned today, and spanked, so must admit, the fight has for the moment left me...and I am feeling a touch sorry for myself.

Your friend is right thought, what does it matter who is right, when we are no longer there to see that we are right.


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