Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

It’s Thursday noon, and another refreshingly sunny spring day. I’m going for my daily run through the Auckland Domain, deeply lost in the finer points of sash window restoration, branching strategies, and my ongoing fantasy to run a marathon (and save the world in Macgyver-style fashion).

Life is good.

I’m heading down Domain Dr., about to turn into Lower Domain Dr.

As I reach the intersection I see a late model Corolla on Lower Domain Dr. slowly drive past the turn off and then stop.

In the car is an elderly couple. It is apparent they’re not local. They’re hesitant and unsure of where to go, they probably wanted the turn-off to Domain Drive.

As I continue jogging past them, I ponder what brings them up to Auckland.

Maybe they’re on holiday and have finally decided to visit the big-smoke.

Maybe they’re visiting a relative in hospital.

Maybe they’re here to see their grand-daughter graduate.

My thoughts are interrupted with the loud screeching of tyres. I spin round, and see a shiny, black, over-sized Mercedes scream to a stop, only narrowly missing rear-ending the Corolla in front.

Now, granted this couple was stopped on the road. But it was Lower Domain Drive. There are judder bars. Only an idiot would be driving faster than 30kph. For the Mercedes to come to such a sudden halt, they were either driving recklessly, speeding, or too busy talking on their cellphone to watch the road.

The driver of the Mercedes takes a couple of seconds to recover, and then responds with a very aggressive honk of the horn. They lay it on, not for a second or two, but a solid 15 seconds, or more.

My heart goes out to the elderly couple. Yes they were in the wrong, but this behavior is unjustified. The Mercedes is exploiting someone else’s mistake to aggressively cover their own bad actions. They are blatantly abusing my life philosophy of “just because you can doesn’t mean you should”. Instead they seem to abide by the attitude of “just because I can, I bloody well will”. It’s an attitude of me, me, me, nothing could possibly be my fault, and the idiots in front are solely responsible for my near accident.

Finally laying off the horn, the Mercedes proceeds to pull alongside the old Toyota. I promptly turn around and head back directly towards them, thinking that there is about to be an ugly incident of road-rage.

But then, maybe after seeing me, they decide against it.

The driver, a woman in her 30s, speeds off hiding behind her steal armour. I give her a menacing glare as she passes and then continue on my way.

Later that evening, I ponder what became of the couple. Did they find their destination? Are they enjoying a glass of wine? I’m willing to bet their evening has been marred as they play the situation out in their heads over and over again (I know I would).

Perhaps I should have spoken to them afterwards, and offered assistance.

I didn’t.

Most of the time I follow the philosophy of ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’, where just because you can complain, get angry, honk your horn, get upset, or have any other reason for being bitter, it doesn’t mean you should.

However, in this case maybe I should have acted on “just because I can, I bloody well will”.

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