I had just finished shopping and returned to my car in the car park, and was reaching forward to switch on the engine of my Nissan Leaf electric car, when I became aware of a tapping sound on the front passenger window of my car.
I turned and saw a woman standing next to the window signalling with her hand for me to wind down the window. She was about sixty years old and dressed head to toe in black, serious. I assumed there was something wrong with my car – a door open or boot open or similar.
I wound the window down.
“You must be one of those people who force us to burn coal,” she snapped, “so you can get the power for your electric car, and pretend you’re being green and saving the environment, right?”
I was astonished at her words and at the tone of their delivery. “Actually…” I started to say, “… eighty per cent of New Zealand’s energy comes from renewable …” I stopped. Because she was gone from the open window and was getting into her car, her diesel car, next to me. “Don’t you want to hear what I have to say,” I asked, “or do you…?”
“No,” she shouted, shook her head and slammed her driver’s door closed behind her.
“Oh,” I called, “you don’t want to hear other viewpoints then?”
She stared forward, ignoring me.
I got out of my car, circled around the back, and tapped, gently, on her driver’s side window.
She ignored me.
“Eighty per cent of New Zealand’s energy comes from renewable resources, I was saying.”
She continued to ignore me.
“Don’t you want to hear other opinions?” I said.
She switched on her car’s ignition.
“Because I think you should know,” I said, “but you were so keen to not hear me, and slam your car door, that you’ve closed it on your coat. It’s jammed outside the car door and is trailing on the ground.”
She put her car into reverse gear.
“It’s quite dangerous,” I said. “I would listen if I were you.”
She turned her head away from me, and looked out the rear window.
“Oh,” I said, “I understand! You must be one of those people who don’t listen to what other people say, to the truth. Like an anti-vaxxer. I’ve heard they always know that they’re the only ones who are right. Are you an anti-vaxxer?”
She let out the clutch and her car lurched backwards.
I stepped clear of the wheels and her trailing coat.
She reversed out and was, just for a second or two, stationary next to me.
“Your coat is outside your door on the ground!” I called out.
She put her car into gear and started to pull away.
“Don’t anti-vaxxers care about coats and things?” I called out as she sped off.
And the man who was sitting in the car on the other side of mine, got out of his car and approached me.
Oh god, I thought, not another one!
“I really enjoyed that,” he said. “I know I shouldn’t say that, but she wouldn’t listen. Now she’s driving all the way home with her coat outside her car door. How can anyone be that stupid?” And he laughed.
And, I’m sorry to say, I laughed as well.
Posted: Wednesday 6 July 2022