I was driving back home from school this afternoon. I decided to take the Unity axis because my bank was along that road. I needed to use the ATM.
Entering Unity Road, there was a hold-up. The situation wasn’t so bad anyways. Soon I was holding my head out of the gridlock and as I prepared to zoom off, a motorcycle came riding abreast of me. There were two men on it. The man on the front seat called to me “wetin you dey drive now?” I looked at him. Since I considered his speech an insult, I simply looked away. That way, I had spoken a million words.
A few seconds later, the motorcycle overtook, came directly in front of my car and suddenly slowed down. I recognised the man and wondered what he was trying to do. I swerved here, then there, trying not to hit him and also not to come to a full halt. I simply didn’t want to be engaged by him.
The rider made sure he positioned himself in front of me so that I would have to either hit him or halt. I slammed my brakes. By now, I could see the guy was wearing camo combats trousers. No doubt, he is a soldier. My heart skipped one beat (just one).
I still had the option to reverse to gain clearance and then get around the motorcycle and get away. I didn’t. I had halted, engines still running.
He alighted and walked towards me. I tried to remain as calm as I could. I didn’t like the scene that was fast forming.
Now, Mr Soldierman was at my window and I was furiously thinking. I didn’t know what I had done wrong.
Fine, I had read and heard about how soldiers have brutalised civilians and even members of the Police Force in the recent past. So, should I be scared that a soldier was here to harass me? By Law, would he be right if he assaulted me in any way? I have rights as a citizen of this country. Nobody, not even a soldier should take the law into his hands. The fact that he was a soldier shouldn’t mean he’s above a civilian.
^^ that’s how to think. Yet, that’s still NOT how to think.
If I maintained I was right and engaged that soldier, I would have dragged myself into unfamiliar terrain. I would have worsened his anger. He would likely have used his fists or even weapons on me. I certainly would have lost if I chose to fight.
Even if I got justice later, I still wouldn’t have gained anything.
As he came towards me, I interrupted his angry words with “sorry, sorry.. I’m sorry”.
Did that make me a coward? I don’t think so. As he kept venting his anger through his words, I saw that he was angered by the fact that I treated him as a nobody by not even replying his [statement? Speech? Insult?]
He poured out his anger for maybe like ten seconds as I kept saying sorry intermittently. He turned around, got back on his bike and zoomed off.
I zoomed after him, caught up with him, and overtook.. Sped away. I didn’t do this to prove anything. I had simply resumed my life. But as I’m writing this, I feel that was a significant move.
^^ significance: I unwittingly proved to myself and to him that I was above both him and the situation he had just caused.
Don’t think you have to say “sorry” only when you’re wrong. Saying sorry saves us a lot of trouble. It saves us having to argue and argue about things that don’t really matter. Saying sorry isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and wisdom.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.”