Shellee-Kim Gold is a freelance journalist who has contributed to more than 50 publications. It was the unique South African psyche that called her home after traveling across 43 countries. One of her quests is trying to comprehend the relationships Capetonians have with themselves and each other. Shellee-Kim’s spare moments are spent rating cappuccinos and planning escapes from the city.
A couple of friends of mine from sedate Scandinavia made some telling remarks about Capetonians’ collective driving fury.
Their observation was Cape Town drivers had ‘some kind of crazy rage that began when they turned their car ignitions on and ended when they arrived at their destination’.
They’ve been here many times over the years and have had good opportunity to watch us evolve (devolve?) on the roads over the years.
Being subject to - or perpetrating - road rage in our city has become par for the course as motorists. Can you think of a driving experience when you didn’t encounter the aggression of drivers preventing you from entering a lane, tailgating, cutting you off or making obscene gestures and hooting?
This, for instance, is one of my frequent road experiences. Different man, different car, and I bet it’s yours too.
In the red Golf with tinted windows, a dressed dashboard and a naked, noisy exhaust, the male driver has just seen fit to overtake me on a double-blind mountain pass bend. Almost creating a head-on collision with an oncoming truck and uncreating himself, in the process.
Now I’m alongside him at the next set of robots. The sick puppy is sitting as smug as sin behind his wheel. Presumably because he beat me to the lights by a whole 20 seconds. Clearly, the satisfaction he feels must have been worth trading death-defying moves for.
If I had cared enough to say something, I imagine his likely response would have been a series of expletives, possibly followed by the threat of physical abuse!
Out of 10 countries surveyed, South Africa was Number One in a 2005 Synovate survey on road rage. In 2007, 50% of people experienced aggressive behaviour on the road.
We’re a country filled with Mad Maxes - the character hell bent on road revenge from the movie of the same name. Local wannabees are quick to reach for their sports bats and proceed to smash the brains out of their perceived opponents. And drivers who are the wrong-doers are the likely ones to fire the first attack.
Not unlike when you politely ask your neighbour to remove his dear doggy’s doo-doo from the lawn and you receive a torrent of abuse in response.
As John Salter, the director of Synovate said “The greatest form of defence is attack and the middle finger given by a perpetrator is the norm.”
One perpetrator who jumped a robot and was confronted by a fellow driver, phoned into a radio talk show to proudly announce he had got out and smashed the victim’s side window in response. ‘What is making us all so angry’, the host asked?
Here’s my theory. South Africans mostly express road rage from the safety of our cars. Clearly we lack the courage to do otherwise. The same courage and demonstration of our personal power needed to deal with the many ways in which we allow ourselves to be victimized elsewhere.
It may be the dog’s ceaseless barking next door that we tolerate endlessly when we really want to address it with the neighbour, but don’t due to fear. Or being made to wait in hopelessly long queues, only to be told 20 minutes later we’re in the wrong one. We’re fuming inside, but choose to adopt the ‘understanding’ response. Or when we, as customers, are delayed while civil servants/shop assistants/businesses decide their personal conversations or other work has priority over us. We’re seething within, yet choose to smile instead. Inappropriate self-censorship is everywhere.
All those layers of suppressed fury must spill over and go somewhere, TV shrink Dr Phil would probably say.
And so the unexpressed becomes expressed when we take to our lethal weapons on wheels. Playing Russian roulette on our roads is high-risk. But sadly until we give ourselves permission to speak out to the relevant person at the time and without fear, it’s obvious we’re not settling for anything else.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
There’s a strange kind of hush, a stillness, that’s fallen over the earth and her people. In spite of the usual cacophony of white noise generated by our many human activities. Can you feel it?
It’s as if there’s a giant collective cross-species inhalation that the very trees, flora, fauna and even humans have taken (Include birds in that: they’re eerily silent down here).
And we’re waiting for the exhale…and all it will bring.
Besides that, I personally feel as alive as any good member of the living dead might! The body I thought I knew has recently gone zombie on me, turning icy cold. I feel as if I’m resident at a weather station in the north pole.
Feeling permanently freezing has left me frantic. And it’s especially beserk to be taking a hot water bottle to bed nightly, considering the current average summer temperature in Cape Town is around 30 degrees Celsius in December.
Yet, this is an iciness that comes from somewhere deep within, refusing to thaw. Other than if I sit directly in the hot sun for a while, that is. After retreating, I’ll remain warm for around 10 minutes. After which I find my body temperature quickly descending again into what feels like sub-zero conditions. Purplish-blue lips, shivering and all.
This started at roughly the same time as the incessant, deafening high-intensity pitch in my ears a few weeks ago. It all began with a pretty benign buzz last year and my ears kept blocking up when this symptom first sounded. Just like when you’re traveling high-altitude in an airplane! Maybe that’s all it is. A consciousness equivalent of travelling high altitude. But since then its descended ( or should that be ascended?) into a shrill ringing.
Anyway, I call it ‘having my cicada moments’. Cicadas are African bugs that live on trees. Male cicadas call to the females with this ring. It was a homey, familiar sound I really missed when I travelled. When I returned, I would frequently head for spots in nature for the comfort of that sound.
Now they’ve migrated, it seems, to…inside my head! Their ventriloquial quality makes it tough for humans to pinpoint the sound’s origin.
Meaning: half the time I don’t know whether the sound’s emanating from in or outside my head. Something a psychiatrist would easily label ‘delusional’, ‘paranoid’ and ‘schizophrenic’, I’m sure.
To make it worse, every week or so I’ve noticed the pitch moves up an octave.
Is it any wonder, then, that I’ve wandered around – even in public – banging on my head and ears for it to stop, please, just for an hour! Muttering and mumbling as I roam aimlessly up supermarket aisles, forgetting entirely what I’d come for. Or worse, standing dazed, fixated by a fruit cake!
You occasionally also get some nice vertigo/drunken wobbles thrown in with this one, too. In addition to extra clumsiness: this past period has seen me smashing plates and glasses with the frequency of a bazouki dancer in a Greek restaurant.
Pleading, begging, coercing, even bartering attempts with my IF’s/the etheric Himmler Squad have proven pointless!
One thing I can tell you is the overt Chinese torture methods of old ain’t got nothing on this subtle stuff!
To think, if I gave all of this rewardless life and the ascension path up tomorrow I’d probably be able to find a job with the National Intelligence Agency. Investigation and interrogation methods would be my obvious speciality, given my experience and background.
Naturally such a choice would strike me off the New Earth/Ascension roll in an instant. And would lay waste to thousands of years, lives, cleared karma and preparation for this one. So it’s a totally ridiculous thought.
Talking karma clearing, it really feels as if the chickens are coming home to roost now. It’s becoming increasingly-evident through the splitting off of realities.
Separating realities of consciousness and the humans that are inhabiting these various realities/worlds are yielding interesting results, so far. There’s an all-pervading sense of a breakdown of old systems – collectively, institutionally and within the individual. I can feel the defensive brittleness in people, the fear and panic. Everything is seriously surfacing into the conscious mind for an opportunity to clear now. As I channeled it from Alcyone in July here (http://goldsalchemy.blogspot.com/2009/07/crumbling-of-masks-by-maceldoran-from.html).
Of course, only free will dictates ;-) whether this opportunity will be used for personal expansion or not.
Because we are such a disempowered lot in this country who accepted censoring forever and have now become self-censoring (doing all the work for the Dark Side Controllers like well-behaved sheeple and without even realizing it!), it manifests as way more passive aggression here, for instance.
Like people pushing your supermarket trolleys out of the way with their own, instead of asking you to move it out of the way. Or happily? Accepting verbal abuse by service providers as consumers, allowing the self to feel more disempowered. Then, to compensate, getting safely behind the wheel of our cars for a potentially-deadly vent. South Africa came out tops from 10 countries surveyed on road rage conducted a few years ago. See more about this and my theory on a disempowered culture in one of my newspaper columns here.
But the discomfort within is a universal symptom currently, as I understand it. So I’m curious to know how you’re all experiencing this within your own countries and cultures.
The mass ‘breakdown’ only means the all-important quality of being boundaried with others is even more essential to work with. Being a fully sovereign being means exercising your personal boundaries as often as is required.
When you express this, what you are telling yourself and the world translates to: I honor my own self enough to bring your attention, .……(name of friend/foe/stranger) to your unacceptable behaviour/action/words of (name the incident) involving/towards me.
I’ve found this way easier to do with people I know. But the boundary-setting I’m finding the most challenging are the few projections emitted by strangers I’ve interacted with lately.
A manifestation of the various worlds we are inhabiting now is producing a being ‘rubbbed up the wrong way’ feeling. Two years ago when the splitting off of realities first became evident to me, I went ‘invisible’. People looked right through or past me, as if I wasn’t there. But once I got used to it and took the necessary steps in being ‘seen’ particularly while driving for obvious reasons, it was all ok. Even advantageous sometimes.
But now that the heat’s being turned up – energetically-speaking – everyone’s getting poised for the changes ahead. Invisible or not, the more integrated we are within when they do happen, the better. In the meanwhile, I’m continuing the walk between worlds.
Even if I do feel like a cross between a tipsy trapeze artiste and a ventriloquist’s doll a lot of the time!
Magic, madness & mystery