Traffic, violence and I

Traffic, violence and I… Recently during heavy traffic hours I was driving on Cendere Street. I was on my own in the car. Music was playing. As usual it was the evening of a tiring day. As I was proceeding lost in thought I noticed that the car behind me was aggressively flashing its headlights and sounding its horn and that this was constantly repeated.

I did not and never will understand the reason for it. I wanted to give way but it was not possible, the traffic did not allow it. But the behaviour of the driver of the vehicle now rose to the level of harassment. I understood, trouble was at the doorstep, and as usual without announcing that it is coming…

I said my last prayers and having accepted my fate continued to drive. A few meters further on, where the traffic congestion eased up a bit, the driver overtook me, flashed his headlights and stopped four or five meters in front of me. His car was too big for me to get passed and escape. Even if I managed to escape in a short while I would get stuck in traffic again and be caught. So I stopped. I put on the parking brake and waited. We were at an isolated point. A slim young man, about thirty years of age, one meter seventy-five tall, steamed out of the car and started running towards me. He was shouting at the top of his voice. It was impossible to understand what he was saying. He walked straight to my driver’s door and tried to open it. The doors were locked. The windows were shut… When he saw that the door did not open he started punching the window. He was constantly shouting and swearing. I was not looking at him and taking the utmost care not to come eye to eye with him, only looking ahead and waiting with as calm an attitude as possible. Within less than a minute he suddenly stopped. He gave the left rear-view mirror one last punch from behind and left. Then we continued on the road, he in front and me behind him. As if nothing had happened. Two hundred meters further down he stopped to turn left. And I passed by his right side and the incident ended in the darkness of night.

At the time I remembered a young female patient of mine. Her boyfriend was killed during a similar incident on Bağdat Street. The man was in his grave, the murderer in prison, and my patient in front of me with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Then I remembered another incident where in broad daylight the driver of the owner of a big hotel was gunned down and killed with an automatic weapon.

I don’t know whether it was due to memories, the benefit of having psychiatric knowledge or personal experience, but my approach had been in short to ignore the man as if to say: “you don’t understand me, I don’t understand you, so it is best if you go your way and I’ll go mine!” For some people I am just a coward, what about my self-respect… but this is how I responded in the situation. If the same happened again I would behave in the same manner.

What would you have done?