Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Grace to Drive (or Park)

One of the only things that George Carlin ever said that I've actually appreciated was something to this effect: "Have you ever noticed how, when you're driving, everyone is an idiot except you? Do you think that might be a little strange? What are the odds that you're the only non-idiot on the road?" The man's got a point. In other words, when we're behind the wheel, we automatically justify whatever it is we do (even if we're clearly in the wrong) and tend to demonize other drivers when they make a mistake (even though we've probably done the same thing many times ourselves). There's a significant disconnect there.

On Wednesday morning I was mailing some packages at the Signal Hills post office. After I had done my business, I got in the car and put it in reverse. I looked in all three of my mirrors and over each shoulder, like I normally do when I'm backing up. I didn't see anyone or anything. I proceeded to back out of my spot and made a 90 turn in reverse out of the parking spot. When the car stopped and I put it in "Drive," I heard a loud banging on my rear window. I looked in the mirror and saw a woman standing there, saying something to me. I opened my car door (because my window doesn't work) and she walked up to me where I was sitting. She said, "You almost ran me over, why didn't you look?" I was dumbfounded. I said, "I did look. I'm sorry I didn't see you." She then said in a really angry voice, "You were so busy backing up that you weren't looking. You could have run me over." I said once again, "I was looking, but I somehow didn't see you. I'm sorry." She huffed at me and walked away. I closed my door and drove away.

What really happened? Who knows. Obviously she feels that I was not taking the necessary precautions. I feel that I did take those precautions, but she somehow was in a place that I couldn't see clearly. I'm just glad that she wasn't seriously injured, and I hope she comes to understand the sincerity of my apology. I could have gotten all worked up about it and yelled at her for walking behind an obviously moving vehicle, or how she must have clearly seen that I was moving, considering she was all the way at the end of my 90 degree back up procedure. But whatever. I'll admit that I might have been in the wrong and apologize for it. The point is, we all goof up, especially when driving (or parking, as it were). I need grace when I'm driving, and I need to give it to other people too.

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