Sam Armytage’s advice: ‘Try really hard not to be a d--k’
I want to tell you about two experiences I had this week while navigating the city I live in. A trip across the Serengeti may have been safer.
Firstly, I was driving my sick parents to hospital for check-ups. It's a thing my family does in plural at the moment, because on top of the general stress of COVID, I've had one parent go down with a stroke and the other with heart failure. So, the hospital and I have become best friends. But I digress.
We were driving along, minding our own business in the centre lane of traffic, when a bloke pulled out of a side street. Really fast. He swung dangerously into my lane, almost T-boning us.
I'm not ashamed to tell you, he gave me a fright. And he terrified my country-parent passengers. So, yes, I beeped him, and yes, he bloody deserved it.
Now, I can hold my own. You don't survive a career in TV and an all-girls boarding school and be faint of heart. But the abuse this guy dished out to me at the traffic lights would have made a sheepdog blush.
There were some words in there even I hadn't heard, and I pride myself on my potty mouth. And it was TOTALLY HIS FAULT. It was full-on, even by Sydney-traffic standards.
I dropped off my shaken parents and proceeded to drive on to a local park to take the dog for a walk. I won't go into too much detail about Banjo's bowel movements that day, but let's just say we had a two-poo situation and I only had one bag.
So, at the point of the second turd, I stopped and waited patiently (as any good parent would) for another lovely, kind dog owner to walk past with a spare plastic bag. It's called karma and I'm a big believer in it.
Well, old mate from the traffic must have had a twin brother walking in the park. Because another abusive fellow walked past and started shouting some more four-letter words at me about picking up the poo. It was ridiculous, unnecessary and just plain dickery.
At this stage I considered picking up the poo in my bare hands and pegging it at that idiot. But this wasn't the Serengeti, even though people were behaving like animals, so I ignored him.
I know this whole coronavirus thing has us feeling unpredictable and lawless. We're sick of being locked-down and locked-up. And we're annoyed we can't hug each other or dance at a wedding. I know we're all over-governed and under-paid. And we have way too many people in the cities and far too few lanes of traffic.
We're over-stimulated. Our phones are constantly beeping and social media is making us all anxious. We're tired and stressed and chaotic. We're fearful and angry and annoyed.
Particularly about dog poo. But I think it's really important we don't become dicks.
We've all been socially isolated for so long; it could just happen.
So be a bit tolerant. And just try really, really hard not to be a dick.
And to the lovely woman who walked past with her terrier and a spare poo bag about two minutes after the frothing fool at the dog park... thank you for not being a dick.
Samantha co-hosts Sunrise, 5.30am weekdays, on the Seven Network.
Originally published as Sam Armytage's advice: 'Just try really hard not to be a dick'