There’s me, and there’s me behind the wheel. These two have nothing in common. When I’m driving, I’m the angriest most foul-mouthed version of myself.
Here’s a short story. Rewind to 2010. October. Jeddah.
My flight to London is tomorrow. My passport was still in the UK consulate, no news about my visa. An entire 20-week vacation hinged on my being granted this visa. And if that failed, I don’t even have my passport to make any changes and go somewhere else.
My nerves were worn down thin by the time the call came, that afternoon, that my passport was ready. But I had only one hour to pick it up.
The UK consulate is on the other side of town. I leave my office and drive rather erratically to pick it up. All goes well, my passport is with me, I phone my then-wife and tell her we’re going to London.
And then I head back to the office, in terrible traffic.
Someone cuts me off, and when I honk at him, gives me the middle finger, triggering maybe the worst meltdown I’ve ever had in my driving life.
Just how bad was it?
When I reached my office, my colleague asked me why my eyes were bloodshot. I got so angry that some of the tiny capillaries inside my eyes had flared up so badly my eyes looked as if I had an allergy.
A few minutes later, I noticed some blisters had appeared along my waist and wondered what insect had caused them. But those were actually shingles.
I had gotten so angry I lowered my immune system enough that it was no longer able to fight off the shingles virus, and it erupted on my waist. Immediately.
But by far the worst thing that happened that day has actually lasted with me to this day.
My stomach would never be the same. That night I had my first acid reflux incident and have been living with GERD ever since.
I’ve never been as angry as that day and hope to never be again. But I learned a lot about anger and stress, the hard way.
Anyway, the moral of the story is: I aspire to reach a place in life where I can have a chauffeur. That’s my goal. To never drive again.