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Foolish, wutless rage


Sherwyn Walters

Foolish, wutless rage

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Barbadians real ANGRY these days. And, not infrequently, I am witness to hare-brained, expletive-filled explosions . . . .
So there I was Saturday night, my car second in line from a St James supermarket’s exit. The lady driver in front of me had the indicator of her relatively small vehicle signalling right, but there was a backup of traffic going her way, north. So she waited.
After a while, some good soul paused so that a little space (enough?) was created in the line of north-bound traffic. There was also a break in the flow of south-bound traffic. Still, the lady driver waited.
The supposedly accommodating space on the other side of the road inched wider. No movement in front of me.
Soon vehicles started to again stream past the exit from the other direction. Our lady now had to wait.
The minutes started to add up. The good Samaritan on the other side eased along. His time was, understandably, not longer than twine.
The wait continued. A horn sounded – not mine. A bit insistent, but not churlishly so.
Four minutes at the exit now. The first horn punched the air again, joined promptly by another, the duo now seemingly twinned in blasting anger. Cars still flowing past the lady’s front bumper.
Vulgar double whammy
Suddenly, from behind me: “*********!” (Brass bowl? Close, but no cigar.) “Push out half!” Then the horn duet became a chorus of furious puh-pramp-pramp-pramp-pramps.
But no let-up on either side of the road now.
After about seven minutes, heaven (?) sent a break, and the lady swung out, but not before a vulgar double whammy ending with Rihanna’s popular word flew towards her. I had to keep my head securely inside my vehicle because, I swear, I felt that bile would have knocked my head off.
Road rage. Well known in the United States. A fellow was so incensed by what another driver had done that he followed him for several miles, high-beaming him all the way. The driver in front eventually pulled over, as did his “stalker”.
As the “stalkee”, along with his male passenger, got out to confront the high-beamer, he became the bullseye for a bow and arrow, whose expanding head had razor-sharp blades manufactured to fly open on hitting a target. Not Cupid’s “attraction” arrow – there was love lost, and two lives – one of a loose cannon jailed with no possibility of parole for first degree murder “with extreme cruelty and atrocity”.
Same virtuous anger
Road rage. I don’t know if anyone has been killed here as a result of it, but it is certainly on the increase in Barbados.
Earlier in the day of my Saturday night, believe it or not, I was thinking about another kind of “road rage”. The one we associate with Rosa Parks’ December 1, 1955 action. A noble indignation, you might say: a black person in the United States refusing to give up a seat on a bus for a white person. The kind of wrath that even if they arrest you, some years later a president of the United States might give you the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honour that the legislative branch can accord, and tons of universities award you honorary doctorates.
Yes, we know about Rosa Parks, but others had exhibited the same virtuous anger.
Baseballer Jackie Robinson and Irene Morgan in 1944 – and both won their court cases. Sarah Keys, army private, did it in 1952 – and also won a court case. Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin did it nine months earlier than Parks. Thirty-six-year-old Aurelia Browder did eight months earlier. Eighteen-year-old Mary Louise Smith did it two months earlier. As had Jeanette Reese and Susie McDonald (in her 70s).
In fact, it was the Browder vs Gayle case, in which Browder, Colvin, Smith, McDonald and Reese (who dropped out of the case because of intimidation by Whites) sued, that was the decisive legal muscle that brought a victorious end to the Montgomery Bus Boycott – for which Rosa Parks was, so to speak, the poster child – and to bus segregation.
Perhaps poor judgement
For whatever reason, maybe even good reason, Parks got the big part for history. I am not putting down her or the NAACP. I see a place for strategy. Hard-headed, hard-nosed people (and, yeah, people who think mainly in rage-full expletives) often don’t – and just as often they get nowhere.
Unlike Parks and company.
So let’s say Saturday night’s woman driver was a little timid, perhaps exercised poor judgement, maybe was not as alert as she should have been. Was your behaviour such that you could proudly go home and tell your nine-year-old about it?
Go find some righteous anger, man. There are quite a few things waiting for more than wasteful, hot-air salvos.
 • Sherwyn Walters is a writer who became a teacher, a song analyst, a broadcaster and an editor. Email [email protected]

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