Maximum Sweetness

Riding along a narrow lane, into a strong and cold headwind, the first I was aware of a vehicle behind me was its really peeved driver honking on its horn. Even with the headwind, it would take me, what, a couple of minutes to get to a point where it could pass me. Anyone but a moron could see there’s nowhere for me to let it pass – not least because it was one of those fat pseudo four wheel drives, not a properly rugged working off-roader but a ‘poncing about in the country’ version, much loved by the ladies who lunch brigade and never known to get dirty.

This is the second time I’ve had a sort-of run-in with a vehicle like that on this lane near Checkendon in the last two or three years. It might well have been the same person, there are only a few houses down this lane. Either that or the houses constitute an enclave of the peevish.

Anyway, I went out of my way to pull over as soon as I could and sure enough, the grotty little individual driving it sped by without any acknowledgement – as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning.

To pull over I had to cross the gravel-strewn middle of the lane and I pulled off-road into a muddy field entrance. Just a few yards further on, I had a puncture, with a large sharp flint stuck in the tyre.

At this juncture, I’m not a happy bunny and I thought then as I’ve thought before about bad tempered motorists: if I pass you further up the road, and you’ve crashed and you’re in need of help, I’m just riding by without a backward glance.

And those thoughts do me no favours at all, superficially sweet as they might be. To think them is to lower myself into the same angry little hole the peevish idiots dwell in.

So, rising above that seemingly is better … but why? You could take the view that in those circumstances it would probably be sweeter still to demonstrate that you’re capable of helping them, even though they’re such grotty individuals. The trouble is, that’s getting awfully smug.

I suspect, ultimately, it comes down to what emotional baggage you want to burden yourself with and carrying around pointless hatred is just that, a burden.

Anger as a positive energy is another thing entirely.