I can be a better driver. I'm working on that. I've been doing it for 24 years, I'd better be at least OK: it's a big, must-be-careful deal, as you're handling a thousand or more pounds of plastic and metal that can move several times faster than any land animal. Don't hit anyone.
Confession: I've had a couple of car accidents, and one night in Northern Virginia during my first few years driving, I hit a large plastic garbage can. WHAM. That was a bad sound and visual, the can flopping through the beams of my headlights. Imagine if it'd been metal. Imagine if it had been a person.
This sounds like ominous foreshadowing. No, I didn't hit anyone or anything today. But...
I'd driven up to the N.E. 66th-and-Glisan Fred Meyer, as I was in the mood to drive farther than usual, and shopped. Wound up saving 21% off my purchase, if I may feel good about that. Got the groceries to my car, started the engine, moved to one of the throats* where I could leave the parking lot to get back onto Glisan. I was stopped, scanning for traffic to my left so I could turn right. I had a good gap coming from the left. I noted this and looked right...
...and made eye contact with a guy walking up the sidewalk. And realized because I was in the throat, I was blocking him. I started to shift to reserve (yes I drive a stick shift), but did it wrong and the car didn't move. OK, just wait, and let him pass. Which he did. My driver-side window was open, and I briefly considered saying I'm sorry. I should've looked better and not been there. Or something. Then I quickly worried:
Would I sound apologetic? Would I be apologetic? Would the guy think I was sincere? Or would he think I'm just a jerk behind the wheel, being sarcastic and lording it over him? The wrong word from me, the wrong tone from me, and this would be a bad interaction. So I kept my mouth shut. OK, Chris: pay better attention next driving time.
* Yes, that's the correct term for the place where a driveway meets a road, and you can get onto either a road or a driveway without bouncing over a curb.