I was driving along Del Mar a day or two ago, just past Lake Ave near Caltech. It was dusk, and car headlights were just coming on. As I pulled up to the light, a huge bakkie (pickup truck) with raised suspension and huge tires pulled up right behind me, with its headlights on. I don’t think the brights were on, but the height of the truck put its headlights at exactly the right height to shine directly into my eyes, via every rear-view mirror I had.
Naturally, this was annoying. For a while I leant forward, till my neck got tired. Then I sat back, but with my hand raised between me and the rear-view mirror on the windscreen, thinking idle nasty thoughts about people who feel the need to turn perfectly normal cars into monstrosities.
But after a few seconds the strangest thing happened: the truck turned off its headlights. Since it was dusk, the only possible explanation was that the driver had seen my hand, worked out the problem, and turned off his/her lights. And in that instant my idle annoyance became a lot more complicated.
By being so obvious about the thing, I had turned a minor annoyance of mine into something so significant that the other driver decided to turn off the headlights. Was I really justified in doing so? Sure, it was the design of the truck that had created the problem in the first place, but what if the driver was only borrowing it? Or had realised only after buying it the implications for everyone else on the road? Since the driver was clearly aware of the effect it had on others, was he/she driving it out of necessity only? Ironically enough, getting what I most wanted had suddenly left me unsure that it was fair to be wanting it in the first place.
And what will the other driver do now? Since I was in a normal car, she/he will now be aware of the discomfit caused every time his/her truck is behind a car. Driving without headlights is clearly not possible, so will the driver be cringing each time a light turns red with some cars in front of him/her?
Such a simple act, so many questions!