Saturday, August 01, 2009
Definitions change over the years and I believe ranting has a different meaning today than when I was a boy. My understanding of ranting is more akin to the definition in the Oxford Concise English Dictionary: ‘to speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way’. When you’ve heard enough ranting you’re inclined to say, “Oh stop going on! For goodness sake, shut up!” That’s especially the case if you are not sympathetic to the rant. I always think of ranting as being a way of getting something off your chest. It doesn’t matter if no one is listening. What’s important is to express what is bugging you. In that way you off-load your annoyance or irritation. Some people may feel it is improper to rant in the first place, but I suspect that even if they do not rant publicly, they rant inwardly. Maybe it’s a kind of therapy.
As a Christian, I suppose I should not rant by letting off steam; rather I should keep the matter to myself and perhaps pray about the situation. I only wish that were the case and that I had that sort of self-discipline, but in truth I do not. This morning I found myself doing a relatively low-key rant to my wife as we travelled by car to her favourite out-of-town shopping centre. She wanted to get hold of some special birthday presents. My rant wasn’t about the time spent in motoring to the Centre, or the cost of the petrol being used to reach the place and make the return journey; no, it was about ‘other drivers’.
Isn’t it odd? It’s always the ‘other’ driver who is at fault. When you are behind the wheel you are faultless, but the other guy or lady is useless, stupid, thoughtless, selfish, half asleep or under the influence of drugs. Well, this morning whatever I did, however I drove, there was always a driver up my tail. If I drove at the regulation speed limit of 70 mph on a two-way carriageway, sure enough, someone was intent on having their car’s front bumper only a few inches from the back bumper of my car. That’s despite the fact that the A13 near the approach road to Basildon is marked with chevrons and there’s a big notice beside the road informing drivers to keep a distance of two chevrons between vehicles for safety reasons.
On our way home, after a successful, spending spree, I decided to take a route that crosses the A127 to avoid road works in Rayleigh, and after negotiating a roundabout, what did I see in the mirror? Some guy driving a black sports saloon that looked like Batmans’s Batmobile. This maniac was intent on shoving my ancient Ford Mondeo right off the road into the gutter where he thought I should be. The bumper of his car could not have been more than a foot from the tow ball sticking out the back of my car. I didn’t need telepathy to know what Batman was thinking, and since I’m a considerate, polite driver, I moved into the left-hand lane; then I didn’t see a sign of his car after a few seconds because it disappeared beyond the horizon like a flash of lightning. Progressing where it had gone, I thought I might see pieces the car and parts of the driver’s body impaled on a group of trees beside the road, but by the grace of God, that was not the case.
The proximity of Batman’s Batmobile to the boot of my car and the speed taken by it while jetting to the horizon caused me to rant to my wife who maintained silence. She could well have been asleep, but that didn’t matter because what was import was for me to rant. Oh, how I wish I had prayed instead. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18)