Friday, March 18, 2016

Lot of problems.

The other day I had a lovely time in the bank. No, I did. I was depositing money, which always puts me in a good frame of mind, and the teller was pleasant, funny, and professional. A pleasure. 

Then I almost killed a guy in the parking lot. 

I maintain it was mostly his fault. I looked around left, right, back, mirrors, and started to back out, and suddenly he was behind me, honking. The only way he would have appeared there so quickly was to have raced into the lot. Of course he was furious, because there was no way he would have known he was in my blind spot, and he was too much of an a-hole to comprehend that he was speeding in a parking lot. So I just went on my way, my good mood spoiled. 

I may have allowed a finger to slip loose toward his red, stupid face as I carefully motored away. 

Why do such bad things happen in parking lots? Suburbia is supposed to be known for its pleasant parking, unlike the city, where people shoot each other recreationally over a good spot on the street. Good parking is like our defining feature. And yet people can't seem to do it right. A guy will park too close to one of the lines and throw off the whole row. And for the whole day, because the guys who park by him have to park wrong, and the ones next to them, and even when they leave the others are still there, and so on. 

They leave their goats in the handicapped spot, too.
Leaving aside active idiocy, we know that part of the problem is that parking lots require 360 vision from our 180 field of view. No matter how quickly you look around, something may be coming up in various blind spots, or in areas that you just checked, more quickly than you can deal with it. Despite that you have to take a breath and go. I mean, you have to pull out sometime. Every act of backing out of a spot is a leap of faith.

I applaud backup camera development on cars as a useful thing, but I can't help but wonder if they have their own disadvantage in a false sense of security. It's an additional safety measure that could make us lazier about checking to the rear, thinking that all the blind spots are covered. Kind of like the theory that modern NFL helmets are causing head injuries by making players feel more protected than they are. And in fact, despite the new mandated cameras coming along in 2018 models, cameras are still considered an assistive technology and not a replacement for the old over-the-shoulder checks.

Satchel Paige once famously said "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." Unfortunately, in the parking lot we have no choice.

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