WHAT kind of maniac insists on driving their car forward while I am trying to reverse into the space outside my house?
You would have thought the fact that I am indicating left, moving backwards (very slowly and at a very odd angle), with the reversing light on would be some kind of clue that they should stop. After all, we cannot both occupy the same patch of road at the same point in time – not without disastrous consequences.
But no, they ignore all these warning signs and continue to advance, often without slackening their speed.
Given that cars line either side of the road (there is no off-street parking) and there is not space for two vehicles to pass, this is an alarming experience.
Time was when, scared of being hit, I too would pull forward, then drive around several neighbouring streets to negotiate my way back home, desperately hoping that this time there would be no-one behind me…
These days I am older and grumpier, and I think I have as much right to park outside my home (assuming there is a space available) as they have to drive past it. But they cannot do that until I have completed the manoeuvre technically known as parallel parking.
Ideally, I would like a neon sign to light up in the rear window, announcing my intentions clearly and concisely: I am backing into this space – keep off my tail.
But I doubt even this message would have got through to the driver who, finally accepting that he couldn’t drive through me, slammed his brakes on, screeched to a halt a hair’s breadth away from my bumper and sounded his horn.
He got out of his car, strode towards me waving his fist and yelled: “Do you realise this is a public highway?”
What a prune, I thought. But I kept my temper, smiled sweetly and explained that a public highway is not merely the reserve of internal combustion engines, but can also be a residential road, with houses, where people live and park their cars.
Then I began reversing again, which focused his mind wonderfully – so much so that he leapt back in his car, and shifted it fairly smartly!