At least now I have an ATM card.
I went to my bank in SS2 this evening to get some errands done. It took a while, so by the time I emerged a pasar malam was starting to set up on the street. Worse, the exit ahead was blocked — stalls were being set up on either side and in the middle of the road.
One of the traders suggested I drive in reverse out of the road, since the entrance was comparatively clear, and there wasn’t any space to turn the car around. It wasn’t that far to the entrance, about 100m in cramped conditions, but definitely possible. And I happen to be quite competent at driving in reverse gear.
I estimated I had about 100m in a (somewhat) straight line to reverse down, no problem lah. So I made my way, and things were going fine. I went by two stalls with no issues. Then my luck turned. A middle-aged passerby decided on my behalf I had a problem, and started drawing my attention (while I was navigating a car through that tight space!) by shouting, and furiously flipping his hands left to right at the wrist like he was fanning an invisible fire. I couldn’t even tell if he wanted me to edge left or right. He kept wincing at every inch my car moved, as though I would inevitably hit something. Given that I was angling my car through with barely a few inches to spare on either side, I can understand how I constantly looked in danger of hitting something — but the way he carried on, you’d think we were in a play, and my character already crushed a few of his grandchildren into Grandkid Juice with a tractor.
I wound down my window to tell him I was okay and didn’t need help, but he didn’t listen. Literally because he was too busy shouting into my car for not winding down the window so he could shout into my car. He then started shouting even more at me on how to drive, basically giving me instructions to do what I was already doing, and had been doing before he started shouting and distracting me.
Another middle-aged man selling vegetables then told him my window was down (good!), and somehow decided to override the chain of command by drowning out the other man’s voice, shouting out instructions at me in even louder Cantonese (bad!), and using vocabulary beyond my understanding! (fuckdammit!) I don’t know if you can imagine what it sounds like to have two loud streams of bossy Cantonese directed at you, but it is highly stressful, like a choir of cardiac arrests.
Throughout it all, I told them both repeatedly in Cantonese:
- I can do this! Not only can I do this, but I can do it better if you are not both shouting at me!
- Stop following me! The first guy, in his eagerness to deliver his instructions, was following my car so closely he interfered with my driving
- And that the stupid hand flipping thing he insisted on doing was distracting and dangerous, as it was right above my view of the side mirror, which needed constant attention.
But of course the insanity continued. For a brief point I just stopped the car because I needed to refocus my attention on my car mirrors, over their demands. I saw an older lady took a look at what was happening, giving the most exasperated stare at both men. Which they did not notice at all, but was good for me to see. The hand flipping was still going on above my mirror, and I had a longing to respond by flipping something of my own back at him. Instead, I continued driving with my jaw clenched so hard my chin was touching my eyebrows.
A part of me regrets not stepping out of the car to give the men a stern piece of my mind. Bring some rational and proportionate responses to this. The way they spoke to me, like I was a bothersome task that had dropped in their laps — when literally, not only did I not ask for their contributions, I was actively requesting that they stop distracting me and let me drive.
But I didn’t, because there wasn’t space to even open my car door, and more importantly, I’m trying to learn to control my temper — around all idiots, including these hairless beasts on hind legs. I can still feel my blood pressure going up just remember the incident, so maybe I should have just indulged in my rage. But then my blood pressure would be even more destroyed than it is right now.
Not everyone was being a jerk. Some people helped. Two women moved some oblivious shoppers out of the way. Another woman helped stop oncoming traffic so I could reverse my car out safely when I got to the end of the road. I thanked the women. I didn’t even look at the men when I drove away. I reckon I’ve given them enough fodder to ngeh ngeh ngeh about when they humblebrag about their contributions to life today.
Upon reflection, every person in this scenario who was helpful was female, and every asshole in the way needed a kick in their dick. Damn that inpenetrable sense of authority so many inept men are shielded in.
I had a buka puasa dinner coming up with my ex-girlfriend after I was done running errands. We were in the midst of making plans, but I told her some stressful events had happened and I needed to eat some beef before we could continue planning. She got it. And I got 200gms of minute steak from Hello cafe.
Met the ex at The X in Bangsar later (her idea, because her drinking buddies were there), and was much more relaxed from the beef earlier — which helped me to deal with the (many luxurious) cars in Bangsar, presumably driven by giant obnoxious cockroaches, and also the disappointing/uninspired food the restaurant serves. Not very good gin & tonic either, so I can’t even say you should focus on the drinks instead at The X.
Then we had ice cream down the road, checked out some ugly street art, and I got to name her food baby (Geri).
I’m glad I took that break before heading out. I don’t need meditation, just give me steak. (Preferably not from The X! Educated guess).