Miami was voted the city with the worst road rage in America in 2007, which would make it the most roadragious (did I just make a word up?) It lead one comedian to joke that it’s because people aged 20 are doing 95 and people aged 95 are doing 20.
But that’s probably just one of the causes, most of which are a result of our technology-infused, hyperactive lives exacerbating our inadequate ability to control our emotions. After all, humans have always got angry over trivial things — other people’s religions, the neighbour’s dog poohing where it shouldn’t, and their sports teams losing.
Back in April, New Scientist magazine wrote about what the electronic age is doing to our brains. To summarise their article, scientists have found that playing violent video games and watching violence on TV desensitises us to it, and separates the consequences of it from us. You can kill multiple people, steal cars, blow things up and cause mayhem, with the only result being a fatty heart and aching thumbs.
It’s not like we haven’t had violence for the past few thousand years. Life three hundred years ago was still permeated with wars, murders, hangings and the like, but it’s our overall level of politeness that has dropped. Declining courtesy in New Zealand rarely rates as news like it would in, for example, Singapore where a minor altercation between a student and bus driver can be major news.
Unfortunately, I feel that therapists are not the cure either as they often circumvent the human mind’s ability to deal with things itself by prolonging (and deepening) people’s thoughts about it. Which leaves us to deal with the issues ourselves. Some people listen to classical music, others cry when they get home, but I’ve always found a good blast through the countryside very cathartic. Consider this: your car is the only form of enclosed transport in which you can enjoy the emissions of your own digestion without offending others. So when the next person cuts you off, release one into the atmosphere, breathe deeply and thank the gods you’re not in a crowded bus.
Words Darren Cottingham