Road rage I feel is a problem that many Kenyan drivers grapple with daily. The first step, of course, is admitting that one has a problem.
Contrary to popular belief, I am not one of these. I have Job-like patience on our roads. I keep my cool 11 times out of 10. Unless of course some misinformed jackass attempts to overlap and then try and force an entry before me.
This I will refuse on principle.
But I digress.
A good friend of mine, who weâ€™ll call Abel, does have a road rage problem. He further has a rather unique way to deal with errant motorists who cut him off or hoot at him. He especially hates being hooted at.
If you hoot at Abel while within earshot, the following will happen.
The composed mien, smile of bonhomie modeled on Santa Claus and air of reserve go straight out the window.
Like Stevensonâ€™s Mr. Hyde, Abel will emerge from his Mitsubishi wild of eye and disheveled of hair. His right fist will be wrapped around the handle of those Somali swords peddled by shifty eyed swarthy gentlemen in Eastleigh and its environs where the Kenya Police Service subcontracts security.
His left hand will be wrapped around the end a beautifully engraved cane that looks too elaborate to actually discharge its duties.
Vein pulsing in his forehead, and lower jaw jutting threateningly outwards, Abel will seek out the errant hooter. He will leave his engine running and his door flapping pathetically open in his determination.
The hooter, shocked at first and then descending into a panic will look around frantically for escape. Seeing none, the hooter will do the next best thing and roll up the window.
In no time Abel will be at the window. Things will develop as follows
- If you hooted, Abel will knock on your closed window with the end of the cane and smile encouragingly for you to open
- If you cut him off Abel will knock with the haft of the sword, and smile encouragingly
When I say â€œsmile encouraginglyâ€ I do not mean that smile of SpongeBob Squarepants or Johnny Bravo.
That is the smile Abel intends to smile. What comes out is that of Chucky or Samuel L Jackson when he is in a bad mood.
Things invariably get very tense.
Reliable witnesses have informed me of grown men depositing their digested lunch in their cotton undergarments in the presence of a wild eyed man who clearly means business.
I once witnessed Abel very casually informing a terrified matatu driver that the next time he (the driver) cut him (Abel) off, he (Abel) would slice the soles of his (the driver) feet into tiny boxes that he will proceed to feed to his (Abel) cat.
This no doubt is a later refinement of filet of sole.
Just last month en route to his Church where he leads worship sessions, Abel encountered another errant matatu driver.
As his friend and mentor even I quaked as I heard Abel cheerfully inform the catatonic matatu driver that the next time he (the driver) cut him (Abel) off, he (Abel) would locate his (the driver) children and eat them with lettuce and a nice Chianti, with strawberries in sherbet for dessert.
Never a man for empty threats, Abel then leaves his mark. This ranges from a scratch on the paint from his sword to hacking off the radio aerial. Mutual friends inform me of a particularly intense event where a matatu not only cut him off but dented his fender and the driver gave a speechless Abel the finger.
Well, that vehicle had its side mirrors lopped off in two clean strokes from Abelâ€™s sword as stunned onlookers watched.
Likely having never read Henry IV, the matatu driver arrived at the same conclusion about discretion being the better part of valour and effected a speedy exit through the window on the passengerâ€™s side and disappeared into the night like an MPâ€™s common sense.
And so friends, try not to overlap. You might cut off Abel. Then you will get the full Cane experience!