It’s not about right or wrong sometimes

A couple of weeks ago, I was running around the neighborhood. On my third lap, I was eager to hit base and end my run. As I was crossing a small road, a car signaled to turn left. He slowed down enough to make me think he was gonna give way to me. I sped up so he wouldn’t have to wait too long for me.

Instead, he honked loudly at me, enough for me to get startled. In response, I pointed my middle finger at him. I didn’t like that he honked at me and I couldn’t care less about being rude.

I continued running past the car, fuming. I recognised that I was getting triggered.

Why did he have to horn?! In that scenario, no one was right or wrong – I even sped up because I wanted to be considerate! Even if he had wanted to drive, and I had misunderstood his slowing down, did he have to horn?

Angry thoughts filled my mind so fast and so harshly that I had to stop running. I continued to brisk walk instead, feeling steam come out the top of my head. I was furious. Ticked off.

A few minutes later, a red car drove by me and stopped. Out came the driver, charging at me. He stopped about two arms’ length away from me and shouted “Why did you point the middle finger at me!”

“Why did you horn?” I asked back.

“My car turning left I cannot slow down, got driver behind me. You got no brain ah!” He yelled.

At this point, I got even more annoyed because he resorted to a personal attack. But in a split second, I also recognised that he wasn’t thinking logically – he was reacting on impulse, just as I was before.

“but you still didn’t have to horn right?” I made sure to lower my voice while I said this, trying to calm the situation down. Instead, he took my retreat as a sign of weakness and increased his volume.

“I horn because you just run past like that, very dangerous! You never use your brain is it! Use your brain next time!”

Seeing as he was in no mood to calm down, I left him in his fit of anger and walked away. I walked away because there was no point talking to someone who was already so angry and I didn’t want to partake in the conversation when it was going to be so heated.

Then, he started threatening me

“Anyway nevermind, I have it all on camera!” was the last thing I heard him say while he got back into his car and drove away.

I was doubly triggered. I’ve once received threats, wildly unnecessary ones, just because the other party had the wrong impression I had done something. They never bothered to clarify if I had actually done wrong but then again – they don’t owe it to me to do that either.

While watching him drive away, I whipped out my phone and took a photograph of said driver’s car plate. If he wanted to threaten me with ammunition, I’d better arm myself with some too.

For the next 2 minutes, I was left alone. Immediately, my first intention was to calm myself down.

“Deep breaths Jane”

After just 10 deep breaths, I asked myself this question.

“Do we want to have 2 people going home angry or 2 people going home proud of themselves?”

I still wasn’t sure of my answer, and before I knew it, my feet had led me to the carpark, where the driver had driven into.

Scanning around quickly, I didn’t spot his car and so I strode up a flight of stairs and within seconds, spotted him and his wife, carrying their belongings and walking away from the car.

He spotted me and I stopped, keeping a short distance between us. I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do, yell at him more or make peace? In that moment, I said to myself – “Give it a chance. Do the right thing.”

I approached him with a step forward. He started yelling again. “You know you cannot just run across the road, got car behind me I cannot stop. I horn at you for your safety you know! Then you still point middle finger at me!”

“Hey, you’re right, I could have let you drive past first” I told him.

He looked at me – shocked, not expecting me to agree with him. As he continued repeating the same few things he’s been saying, his voice started softening.

“You’re absolutely right. It’s just been a long day for me, and Singapore is a high strung environment so you know, I got caught up in the moment. I just wanted to tell you that I’m ashamed of myself because I wouldn’t have done that to you in my best self, and for that, I’m really sorry. I hear you, that you had interests at heart, and I wanna thank you man” I said to him.

As I said these words to him, I saw him process his emotions and check himself as well. He wasn’t an unreasonable person – I saw that right away. He was just someone whose feelings got hurt, and who had a long day as well. He understood how I felt and was making an active choice to listen to what I’m saying.

This man, a minute ago, was an enemy. But now, his face completely softened and his shoulders relaxed. Instead of an angry demeanor, he was quickly calming down to a softer tone. It helped me feel alot better right away too.

After I stopped talking, he paused for a minute, and then said. “Yeah, okay. I understand la. Everyone is stressed also, next time just be careful. Not everyone would have stopped for you. You are a person you know, you can’t fight the car,” he said.

The both of us broke into smiles, and I said, “yeah, you’re right. Thanks for this and again, I’m sorry.”

He apologized as well, and said that it was okay.

Before parting ways, we bumped our fists in good spirits and both of us left the scene feeling much better than we did just minutes before.

How different would things have been…… If we continued to react angrily to our impulses?

This incident taught me one thing – that most fights stem from misunderstandings and miscommunication. Without personal grievances, two strangers have little reason to be so hateful towards each other.

I’m glad that the day ended well, with two people going home happily instead of angrily.

At the end of the day, sometimes all we want is for others to say, I hear you and its okay that we fight, as long as we commit to being open to communication.

Then again, like Mr M says, “sometimes it’s also okay to tell people to fuck off when they really deserve it” 😂😂

I suppose everyone has their own way of dealing with such scenarios, and on a given day, in a different phase of my life – I might have acted differently. But after all that has happened, I want to know that I’ve grown as a person. I want to believe that most people are reasonable and things can be solved nicely, without resorting to threats, personal insults and nasty remarks.

Some days are bad no doubt, we meet the worst of people and experience how selfish and evil they are. But that day, meeting that man, was a testament that most arguments and battles we get into, can be resolved without going to war.