Saturday, December 08, 2007

Driving by Mirrors

I have acquired an interesting skill from years of driving around my neighborhood. I can navigate by mirrors.

This is what a typical corner looks like -- narrow with tall mirrors that sport signs under them reading, 'Be Careful!' The streets are so narrow in fact that very rarely can two cars pass each other. That passing thing is another skill altogether. One I had almost mastered when I got a bigger car.

You must cultivate ninja-like awareness to be able to spot oncoming vehicles all the way a long street. But what really sucks are intersections. Invariably, you'll have some toddler, some elderly man or some teenager thumbing her cell phone dart out in front of you. Not to mention cars. To help prevent accidents at these intersections, where houses and fences are built so close to the road that you can't see around the corner, we have mirrors.

Here's a mirror reflected in a mirror.

And here we have three mirrors on three corners. This is the usual set up.

The trick to driving by mirrors is to know which mirror to look at when you get to a corner. And that means not to mistake your own car for an oncoming one, which is easy to do. I remember the time I sat there all day waiting for a car I could only see in the mirror to hurry up and pass. It just sat there! I could see the driver was getting frustrated obviously waiting for me to pass first. She began hitting the steering wheel, yelling. Yea. It was me.

But once you've mastered that it's pretty much smooth sailing. Except on frosty days or rainy days when the damn mirrors fog up and you have to close your eyes, say a prayer, and go for it.

It's a little difficult to judge just how narrow the streets here are. I was lucky enough to almost get hit by a car. But I got the shot!


Hilary said...

Impressive skills! Very impressive, upon further.. umm.. reflection. ;)

Great perpective in your photos.. thanks for sharing. :)

Kappa no He said...

Hilary: I love your wit. I'm trying to decide which caption I like best to mail in. I had to sleep on it.

Bk30 said...

LOL, I have a hard enough time using the mirror in my bathroom, can't imagine trying to drive via mirror!

Kappa no He said...

BK: It's so tricky. And we have a couple that have been knocked out of whack by a large truck or two, which makes it even trickier!

Frank Baron said...

Yikes! That would make me crazy.

Especially if I was driving Hilary. She'd want to check her makeup at every intersection.

Don't tell her I wrote that.... ;)

Kappa no He said...

Frank: I don't know...those mirrors do nothing to compliment the figure and oh! what they do to the nose!

Virginia Lee said...

So really, is it harder to drive by mirrors and the left side of the road too?


I can't help but try and imagine Mr. Hilton, my Driver's Ed teacher trying to teach my teenaged self how to drive via mirrors up and down teeny-tiny streets with lots of hills and snow in the winter. As it was, I ended up having an extra day of the driving part since I was so lousy at it. But I passed!