Monday, May 30, 2011

Backing up

While the driving and parking conditions on Tortola demand a strong grasp of a wide variety of parking skills, perhaps none is so necessary as the ability to drive in reverse with accuracy and dispatch. Although I spent my teenage years backing the cars into the garage to park them at night, my backing up skills had little exercise in the intervening decade.

Living on Tortola, though, I find them getting better every day. After several months, I can finally back out of the driveway at the laundry without curb-checking the left rear tire every 10 feet. I'm still not reversing into parking spaces at the grocery store though; I don't want to have to subject the traffic to the interminable wait that would likely result.

I have also witnessed some spectacular feats of driving in reverse. I've seen folks reverse up the driveway at the house when the pavement was too slick with rain to pull up it. When the neighbors did a bad job parking the other day, and left a gap only about 9 inches wider than our car between their vehicle and the stone fence, HB managed to back the car out in only two tries. Yesterday, though, I saw perhaps the most stunning achievement in the science of backing up that I will ever be privileged to witness. As we drove home up Great Mountain Road, we were following a truck that traversed the whole, steep, two-kilometer stretch, from Huntum's Ghut to the juice stand, IN REVERSE. I doubt that even if I lived on Tortola the rest of my life, I could ever accomplish such deed.

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